It is often said, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. In other words, do not judge a person by their appearance. In this context appearance is beyond what they wear, it could be what they say, how they act and their entire demeanour or countenance in your first meeting. However, first impressions do matter. Not everyone has the luxury to give you a second chance. The world is too transient for second chances. Thus, you always have to make the best impression with your first opportunity. How do you do this? I’ll give you five areas to work on to make this happen:
A good appearance enhances your personal brand. It paints a good picture for you that makes you attractive. Wherever you go, dress in a way that marks you as mature and professional. Your choice of fabrics, colours and accessories can give you the elegance and confidence you need to stand out. Dressing how you wish to be addressed can be key here.
Don’t Be Late.
Tardiness is a bad sign, any day, any time. It never gives a good impression. It doesn’t matter if it’s just once in a while. Once you’re late once a person can assume you’re always late and you’ll never have the opportunity to prove them otherwise. Hence, it’s important to always be on time. Try to be 30 minutes early for all your engagements. If a potential employer or business partner sees you’re on time, it induces in them a level of confidence before you’ve even opened your mouth to speak.
In tough cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt and so on, it is often said that only the hard-headed survive. People have built a brash tone to survive the harsh atmosphere, and understandably so. However, it is good to drop those tendencies outside whenever you’re in the corporate space. Be nice. Be polite. Say a greeting. Be chivalrous. Be kind. Such acts leave a lasting impression on the minds of people.
Never let any situation take you unawares. Try to be intuitive. Think about possible situations you might be in and things you might say. What would you say if you meet certain people? How would you react to certain situations? If you have a prearranged meeting, do all the research you can do. Try not to look unprepared. It doesn’t create a good first impression.
Last but not the least, (a cliché I don’t mind using), is your body language. When you fidget around people or seem arrogant, you don’t seem so confident. When you’re calm and cool-headed people will open up around you and that will lead to a better first impression.
Bear in mind, not everyone will like you no matter how you try to impress them. So don’t try so hard and don’t lose sleep over how people feel about you in your first meeting. If you follow the above suggestions you will create a good first impression for most, and that, my dear, is good enough.