Make First Impressions Count

You’re probably familiar with this common phrase: “You never have a second chance to make a good first impression.” This is particularly true when meeting with prospective accounting clients.You are judged in the first 15 to 20 seconds of meeting anyone new. People judge you, good or bad, first on your appearance including the way you walk and the body language you use. Then they judge you on how you speak. This includes your intonation, any accent you may have, your diction, the extent of your vocabulary, and any slang terms that you drop into the conversation.The key to making the best first impression is being prepared for a wide variety of situations and responding appropriately to each. Here are four tips to help you:

  1. Smile. People react strongly and instantaneously to the image you portray. If you look stressed out, that image will reflect off them and back at you. So think helpful thoughts and smile.
  2. Look people in the eye. There’s an old myth that if you won’t look at me, I can’t trust you. Are you aware of the eye contact you make? You might be sending the wrong message.
  3. Work the person’s name into your conversation. Once you are introduced, repeat the person’s name a few times in your mind so that you won’t forget it. Then use the name early in your conversation.
  4. Master the handshake. Grasp the whole hand and give it a brief, but solid squeeze. A firm handshake can say as much about your confidence as your appearance.