How To Make The Right Impression

You only have one chance to make the right impression whatever the context: interview, sales pitch, networking at a conference, presenting a Report or briefing the Boss, the Team or both.

People always remember someone who makes a bad first impression but the memory lingers because this experience was so poor! Similarly, make a really good impression and you have made a link that will endure and be worthwhile in terms of contacts, influence and mileage for your messages.

So, what simple steps could you use to make sure the impression that you put across is the one that you want to communicate? The following stages should give you that framework:

  • State yourself: be clear who you are, what you represent and what your message actually is. You must get this right, every time. Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse.
  • Stance: have a positive and polished physical presence. If you look untidy, your shoes need a clean and you just look drab, well you are drab! Also pay attention to your body language and the message that this conveys. Positive people really know how to use their body language to get their message across every time. Never slouch, stand tall and be confident.
  • Tone: use your voice skilfully and use it to have a positive approach to the message you are communicating. People who have a disinterested tone and vocal style quickly loose the focus and attention of those they are talking to. Practice your tone and pitch before the event and learn how to use emphasis to really bring out the key points of your message. Monotone delivery quickly gets you to be someone nobody wants to spend time with.
  • Eye contact: very basic but it is very important to get this right. Make sure that you use eye contact to engage with the recipient (you should not glare and stare constantly but regular eye contact shows your interest and that you are comfortable with making your points). Someone who is uneasy at holding eye contact always comes across as someone who is either unsure about their message or who has something to hide. Make sure that this is not you!
  • Movement; keep control of your body and use this to good effect. Nervous people move around a lot and fidget which is both distracting from the message and also shows uncertainty. Make sure that your body language is appropriate for the occasion and be sure to follow any conventions that the situation demands. For instance, interviews and presentations are formal events where your position and ability to move around may be limited so make sure that you plan for this ahead of the time. Networking at a meeting involves moving around the room, decided by you so, again, preparation and planning for this is essential!

As with all things Management, preparation and rehearsal are everything and will always increase your chance of success.

Good Luck!

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