Seven ways to make a great first impression. On anyone.

5. Connect

When the person you’re about to meet walks into the room, stand up, look them in the eye and give them a warm smile. Your key objective here is to build relationship and trust. Focus on them, not on you. Say to yourself, “I really like this person” and your body language, facial expression and tone of voice will reflect that. The person you’re meeting will feel respected and any possible barriers will quickly break down. Offer your hand – thumb up, fingers extended and palm flat (not cupped), grasp the other person’s hand and give a firm, but not bone-crushing, shake. Say something like, “It’s a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for your time.” And your relationship is off to a good start.

6. Make meaningful conversation

Sure, it helps to break the ice by commenting on the weather or the traffic, but move on swiftly. Find a way to get people to open up by asking open-ended questions, instead of stilted, superficial prattle. Ask about their passions, industry trends or something you noticed on one of their social media profiles. Put all your attention on the other person and listen more than you talk. Be every bit as interested in them as you’d like them to be interested in you. Use their name, often. When asked, speak confidently about what you know and confidently curious about the things you don’t know. Here’s a tip: research says that if eyebrows are set low on the face, the person is informal and easy to approach. If set high, they appreciate good manners and protocol.

7. Follow up

Your meeting or interview went well, and you made interesting connections. Don’t leave it at that. Follow up and do what you said you would. Send the person an electronic copy of your personal or business profile, give links to your website, point them to pertinent articles or online profiles. Make it easy for people to find out about or connect with you, but don’t overwhelm them. Think relevance. To make sure they don’t forget about you in the weeks to come, think about how you can be of service to them. Who can you introduce them to that will enable them to further their cause? What articles can you send them that will be of interest? What meeting or event could you invite them to? Doing this respectfully and appropriately will ensure that you stay top of mind.

Making the effort to incorporate these seven tips into your regular routine will uplevel your interaction and engagement with others, not only for the first time but every time thereafter. Practice them regularly so that you can become more confident, warmth and trustworthy. A must in any business.

Robyn Young is a personal branding strategist and works with successful entrepreneurs and professionals, who want to dream more, do more and be more.
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