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If time is money, it is even more so for entrepreneurs who, in a few minutes, must convince potential investors or clients to bet on their business or project. And direct person-to-person contact continues to represent a more effective and low-cost option.
But how to make sure you’re sending the right message? How to get people to listen to you without bothering you, bored you or confusing you? Lillian Bjørseth, communications consultant and author of the book Contact depth ( Breakthrough Networking ), ensures that people draw many conclusions about an individual just looking at it for 10 seconds, even before he speaks.
How to Make A Good First Impression
Therefore, before presenting yourself to a potential investor, client or partner, take into account these points that are essential to make a good first impression and use them in your favor:
No matter what kind of clothes you wear or the level of presentation you make, if you have a bad posture or a negative body position all your work can come down. To make a good first impression, Bjorseth recommends:
1) When you enter a room “aduéñate” your space, planting your feet with 15 or 20 centimeters apart, one slightly ahead of the other. It is not a question of arriving at a place and wasting happiness, but of feeling safe and well located.
2) Once the eye contact with the other person is established, a smile can create an optimistic and positive environment . But the most important thing is to look your client in the eyes 85% of the time the conversation lasts. This will help you gain their trust and show that you are really interested in what the other person has to say. Avoid looking down beyond the wall of the nose and this is most important to make a good first impression.
3) Keep in mind a “verbal presentation card”, that is, a quick summary -of 30 words- that explains who you are and what you can do for your clients. Bjorseth recommends that you concentrate on the benefits of your offer rather than on your charge or until in the name of the company. “Make sure they remember you over other people who are dedicated to the same thing you do,” he advises.
4) Avoid crossing your arms, yawning, biting your lips and playing with pens, pencils, etc. All these movements send counterproductive signals such as boredom, anxiety, resistance to new ideas and nervousness. Keep a confident and safe posture but do not be arrogant.
There are certain attitudes that can be extremely negative at the time of presenting your business to a client or investor. Punctuality is one of the primary aspects that you must take care of. It always arrives at least 15 minutes before and takes into account the traffic and the distance to the place of the appointment; you should never leave someone waiting.
Although it seems obvious, another point that you should consider is to put your cell phone in silence or turn it off. There is nothing more annoying than to be talking with someone and that your phone constantly rings and, worse, that you answer it in full board even though it “only takes a few seconds”.
When you start a conversation with your counterpart, remember that the elementary thing is to listen. Avoid interrupting the other person, even though you feel the need to explain something or correct some information. Your moment of speaking will come.
“After the handshake, the key to a successful first meeting is simple conversational skills,” says Rosalie Maggio, author of How to Say It and The Art of Talking to Anyone (The Art of Talking) to Anyone). “To be too aware of oneself is the fastest way to die, like the fish by its own mouth,” he adds.
Remember that everything revolves around the other person. So, how to concentrate only on her? Conversing a bit is appropriate in almost any context. “When you have just met someone, talking to this person should remind you of a tennis match, in which each participant is in possession of the ball before returning it to the other,” the expert explains.
The problem is that many people confuse this metaphor and see the conversation “as if it were a game of golf, a sport in which you spend it hitting your own ball over and over again”. So if you’ve spoken more than a minute, give in immediately!
It does not matter if it’s a formal appointment or an impromptu meeting – for example, at a trade fair. Maggio recommends that you acknowledge the other person, be it their business skills, their altruistic work or their good taste in choosing shoes. “As long as the compliments are brief, sincere and specific.” In this way, the feeling they awaken will last long after the words have been forgotten.
Modulation of the voice
Sandra McKnight, owner of the Voice Power studios affirms that the tone of your voice is a fundamental part of the image you project. “In a face-to-face conversation, the other person first looks at you, then hears the tone of your voice and then pays attention to your words.”
People who speak monotonously are uninspiring and those who use a tone too low seem insecure. The most common problem is to talk fast, because the message loses strength and you can seem anxious. “It’s not about saturating information, but about communicating and making yourself understood,” says McKnight.
To make sure you speak at the correct speed, read a book aloud for 60 seconds. When the time runs out, go back to the point where you started and count the words you just read. The ideal rhythm is about 145 words per minute; however, keep in mind that you probably speak faster than you read.
Although in reality the way you express yourself and non-verbal language are paramount, the clothes you wear for this type of dating also speaks a lot about you and what you hope to achieve. But how to know if you are overdressed or too fickle?
Image experts recommend that you wear clothes that you feel comfortable and secure in. Entrepreneurs in suits and ties are rare, since they do not reflect their ability and unique personality.
A good option is the right casual style , that is, mix informal garments such as jeans, T-shirts and even tennis, with a well-cut jacket, preferably navy blue or gray, that combines with the rest of the look. You should also take great care of your presence, not only in clothing but also in hygiene. Always have your nails cut and clean and remember to take care of your hair and beard. If you are a woman, avoid putting on too much makeup, wear very high heels and make your perfume too sweet.
Businessmen are connected all the time. However, business cards are still an effective means of networking and presenting yourself to a potential investor or client. That is why it is essential that you make the most of this piece of paper and turn it into an attractive element that catches the attention of the person to whom you gave it.
Remember that you will surely get many cards, so for you to stand out from the rest we recommend you: put your contact information (choose only those options where you will surely be found, including social networks), choose striking visuals -like images or photographs- and a call to action or invitation to contact you.
First good impression is the last impression; what you think about it? Make a good first impression!