We all get nervous at an interview. Whether it’s meeting your other half’s parents, going for a new job, or trying to close an important business deal, getting off on the right foot is crucial. For a law interview, the pressure often feels insurmountable. Did you know that, on average, you have just seven seconds to make a good first impression? That’s not long — especially when there are so many factors to involved.
So, how do you make the perfect opening impression in a business meeting and interview?
1. Dress to impress
It goes without saying, but the clothes you choose the night before can truly make a difference. After all, if the shoe was on the other foot, do you think you would pay attention and sign a contract if the person standing in front of you was unkept? Probably not, so steer clear of those Converse trainers and ripped jeans — it’s important to dress like the professional you are trying to portray yourself as.
Men should be suited up and look clean and well-groomed. A nicely fitted suit with decent formal shoes will give the impression that you are proud of your appearance and are likely to take pride in your client’s needs, too. Women can also benefit from tailored clothing of conservative colours and patterns. Dark grey or navy should be staple colours in your outfit choice.
2. Don’t be late
Being late is many people’s bugbears — don’t get off on the wrong foot. If your meeting is planned, turn up early. America’s former president, Eisenhower, was famous for his ‘when to arrive for a meeting’ philosophy, which meant that if you weren’t 10 minutes early for the meeting, then you were late.
This will also give you time to do last-minute prep and relax prior to the meeting — crucial if you need to present to your potential clients.
3. Adopt the right body language
How you act and behave are also worth considering. Be sure to smile, shake everyone’s hand who is in the meeting and maintain good eye contact. Smiling will put potential clients at ease, offering a warm impression of yourself, while firmly shaking hands can command respect. Keeping eye contact portrays you as a positive person, while those who avoid eye contact can sometimes be seen as being ‘shifty’ or rude — not ideal for a business meeting!
4. Speak well
You don’t have to talk like royalty, but always make sure you don’t mumble and can be clearly understood in interviews and meetings. Nobody likes needing to continuously ask what it was you said. If this happens, your client could become frustrated, which will take away from all the good that may occur in your meeting. Having an accent won’t matter as long as you are clearly annunciating your words.
Clear communication will help your meeting run smoothly with less stops and starts. It also allows you to build a relationship via small talk. Again, speaking clearly enables this to happen, as if they don’t understand you, they won’t engage.
5. Think about your approach
Have you ever considered that first impressions can begin before you even meet the person who is interviewing or meeting with you? We’ve all heard of stereotypes revolving around certain types of car, but did you ever think about how this may affect any potential business deals? Audis are often stereotypically linked to businessmen and women, meaning that those who drive an Audi A3 might create a positive impact on potential clients who see you arrive!
With these tips, you’re sure to land that business deal or job. Remember, don’t drive a ‘boy-racer’ style car to your meeting, arrive early, dress snappy, be open and friendly, and make sure everyone can understand you! Master these points and you’ll have a great chance of getting the result you are looking for.
Sources: http://www.businessinsider.com/only-7-seconds-to-make-first-impression-2013-4?IR=T https://www.forbes.com/consent/?toURL=https://www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2011/11/02/5-ways-to-make-a-killer-first-impression/ http://www.sideroad.com/Business_Etiquette/business-body-language.html https://www.thebalancecareers.com/small-business-attire-for-women-3514813 https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2016/03/10-advantages-to-arriving-early-to-meetings.html