There's a reason people stress the importance of first impressions. You may have heard that we form an opinion within seven seconds of meeting someone. There are ways to better arm ourselves for our daily interactions, whether or not we are prepared. Whether you have a big meeting coming up, are interviewing a stellar candidate or bump into a potential employer at a coffee shop, we've detailed some ways to help put your best foot forward.
Keep reading to learn how to put your best face forward and also redeem an imperfect first meeting.
The Importance Of First Impressions
A good handshake, a friendly demeanor and the gift of comfortable conversation are the foundations of networking success. Whether you're at a conference or a lunch event, making a great first impression will help you make positive connections in your field.
Maybe you're a hiring manager and frequently conduct interviews, or in business development and often pitch to potential clients. Whatever your situation, how you promote your brand determines your success. If a candidate has a negative interview experience, then it reflects the company as a whole. Conversely, if you rock a sales pitch a potential customer is more likely to think highly of your brand.
Be prepared in all ways you conduct business. Just because you have the upper hand as a hiring manager in the interview process, doesn't mean that you can be lazy. Unless it's old hat, and sometimes even then, have some questions prepared in advance. Show the candidate that their time is valuable. The same works for pitching prospects. Have a sales deck that you consistently share? Tailor it to each company you meet with. Speak to their specific needs and differentiate yourself from the rest who are likely doing something more generic.
Your social media platforms can also serve as a "first impression" of sorts. For example, if you haven't set up a thorough, professional-looking LinkedIn, it's difficult to establish your brand. Recruiters and others in your field may take one look at your profile and then move on. Regarding Facebook and Twitter, make sure you keep them professional. Never overshare content about politics, work complaints, partying, or your personal life. Employers may not consider you for a job if they see inappropriate social media content on your profiles.
What About the Occasional "Bad Day"?
Maybe someone cut you off during your daily commute to the office. Or you just received a stressful call. Everyone's allowed to have bad days. In the unfortunate event that it falls on top of making a first impression, do not fret. Honestly really is the best policy. Take a minute to phone, email, or meet in person to explain that you had a personal matter come up. Apologize, if need be! This practice helps you establish a relationship with a clean slate. The new connection will most likely forgive and forget.
In our society, we put a lot of energy into helping people form positive first impressions, like creating the perfect elevator pitches. You can be made to feel that if you mess up the first impression, you’ll never regain footing. It's important to remember that first impressions can be fixed. Sometimes they can be flat-out wrong, and making snap judgments (without your opinion ever wavering about someone's failed first impression) does not do any good.
So, what's the importance of first impressions for you? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
As a trusted recruitment source for more than fifteen years, TruPath has the industry knowledge and a proven model to help our partners feel comfortable in their search for a candidate.
Through our TruProcess, we are able to consistently deliver exceptional candidates that help organizations continue down successful paths. Contact TruPath today in order to tell us about your staffing needs.