• How to make a great first impression
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How to make a great first impression

We probably don’t need to tell you how important making a great first impression is - but we will, because it’s so vital to get it right. It’s the foundation stone upon which your whole relationship with the person you’re meeting is built - get it wrong, and they can be left with an idea of you that will do you no favours at all. So, here are Big Motoring World’s top tips for getting off on the right foot.

Put your phone away

Use the five minutes spare that you’ve allowed yourself before the meeting to calm yourself down, get focused and take in your surroundings. So, put your phone away - strike up a conversation, or do some breathing exercises - just try not to be caught staring at your screen when the people you’re meeting turn up.

Be positive

Don’t be afraid to make the first move - whether it’s saying hello, standing up or offering your hand to shake. Don’t try and dominate the person you’re meeting, but it’s important that they see that you are confident and assertive enough to initiate the first steps of a new relationship.

Offer a Firm Handshake

The handshake is hugely important - just look at the intense scrutiny of the handshake politics between President Trump and President Putin when they held their first face-to-face meeting recently. Don’t treat it as a power struggle, or a way of imposing yourself on someone else - but do meet the other person’s shake with a firm (but not bone-crushing) grip, and make eye contact. Make sure your hands are dry too - no one likes a limp, damp handshake.

Remember names, and use them

It happens to all of us at one time or another - but calling someone by the wrong name is always a horrible moment. Really try and get names nailed - and then use them as much as you can to show you’ve made a connection.

Smile, and be kind to everyone you meet

Of course don’t grin like a maniac, but smiling has a magical effect on everyone around you. So use it - smile at the person who greets you in reception, and at your interviewers or prospective customers. You’ll find that it has a positive impact not just on them, but on you too - you’ll feel calmer, more relaxed and happier too. Kindness goes hand in hand with this - people ultimately want to work with considerate people, so show them you are with your actions.

Pick up your coffee cup at the end and find a bin

Following on from this last point, if you’ve been given a drink (or maybe even food if it’s a sales pitch over lunch), pick up your things at the end of the meeting. Leaving your rubbish on the table just says that you’re not that bothered about other people - show them that you’re responsible for your actions, however small. All of these might seem to be little things, but together they can make a huge and lasting difference to the impression you leave people with.