First impressions matter! In the wedding and event business, creating a lasting and positive first impression can make or break landing your next big booking, and can also determine how you are perceived in the industry.
Often, a new contact forms an opinion about you within the first few minutes of interaction, so knowing how to make strong first impression can be very impactful for expanding your business.
First impressions are comprised of two elements: your message and your body language.
While what you say is important, your business expertise and service offering are not the only elements of a successful first meeting. Body language is a key in any interpersonal interaction, and plays a large role in how you present yourself and your business to clients, other Pros and your colleagues! In fact, research has indicated that body language can impact your first impression by up to 80 percent, so it is very important to not only focus on what you are saying, but also what your body may be conveying!
Top 10 tips for establishing favorable first impression:
- Stand or sit up straight, keep your head raised and make eye contact while introducing yourself to a new contact. This portrays confidence and makes them take notice!
- A full, firm handshake is not to be underestimated! Remember to introduce yourself to all new people you meet, and say your name and business with assurance.
- A sincere smile breaks the ice and expresses a likable, relaxed demeanor.
- Start a conversation with a simple question to get the conversation started. Asking questions gives the other person an opportunity to contribute his or her thoughts. When in doubt, ask about them! People are comfortable talking about themselves, and this shows you are invested in getting to know them better.
- Always be ready with a relevant “elevator speech” for the meeting. A less than 30 second concise, but well articulated introduction for yourself, your company, or your experience sets the tone for a positive interaction. Be sure to end with a pause and a smile to allow the other person to ask any follow up questions or move on to asking them a bit about themselves.
- Leaning slightly toward the speaker is inviting and shows that you are involved in the conversation. It also gives the indication you are a good listener – which is very important in this business!
- When they are speaking, nod your head slightly on occasion to show understanding while the other person is speaking. This shows that you are listening, and are interested what they are saying. It also coveys an agreeable nature.
- Stay positive, and interested! A good attitude is important to be likable at a party, at a job interview or working an event. People gravitate to those who are happy, flexible and personable.
- Address all those present with respect. Any time a new contact joins a conversation, be sure to introduce yourself, welcome them to the conversation and make eye contact with all those there (even if they are not the focus of your meeting). You never want to isolate anyone, or appear insincere.
- Use your hands confidently. A little hand motion helps to describe something or add weight to a point you are trying to make, but overuse can become distracting so try to only use occasionally.
Review these tips to evaluate your first impression, and find areas of potential improvement! At your next meeting, make a conscious effort to address any areas you can work on. With a little awareness about your first impression and some practice, be prepared to wow at your next business meeting, industry event or client booking!