Hi everyone! We are pleased to share that Bill McKinney previously of Ideal Images has joined the team at Parks West. We could go on and tell you all about Bill, but … Let’s just have Bill share a bit of what is on his mind as it relates to making a good impression and how valuable this is to your success. Go Bill!
Giving our clients a Second Chance at a First Impression.
What makes for a good impression? Everyone has their own list of ideas or thoughts on how to present themselves. Perhaps you know of someone you wish to emulate? Why not could take a page from their book and write your own? Here are five points that I believe should be the foundation of creating a Good Impression.
1. Yes, what you wear matters. Your style is a signal that you can be trusted to behave and stay focused — make sure what you wear reflects that. That doesn’t mean boring — be fashionable but appropriate. From well-groomed hair and nails to the shine on your shoes. Stand Up and Stand Out!! The key thing to dressing for success early on is looking like you’ve already achieved success – and that is the first step toward a positive lasting impression.
2. Never, ever be late. Promptness demonstrates seriousness and lateness shows contempt — always, always run on time, which means factoring in the unexpected, from traffic to construction at the parking lot or delays in public transportation. Tardiness can throw off the entire flow of a meeting and nobody wins. So if you need to leave early enough that you may find yourself sitting in a parking lot for 15 minutes prior, do it. If you need to reschedule do it as early as possible and offer a couple alternative plans.
3. Google. Know the highlights of the person’s life or career you are meeting with, but stop there. Don’t worry about their Facebook or Twitter feeds about date night or what they had for lunch. If their education or previous jobs give you a shared connection, mention it as an ice-breaker. But the most important thing to remember is that you are there to promote yourself and your offerings, not to remind them of theirs. And, if you already know something that they think you don’t, let them share it and don’t cut them off. Being generous goes both ways — share and listen, but never embarrass. Remember…you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
4. Listen before you ask. In first meetings, we often spend so much time thinking about what we are going to ask next that we don’t even hear that we already got the answer. But in a business setting, showing genuine interest in the other person is key to establishing a quick and relaxed conversation. Whenever possible, follow up with questions based on what they just answered — that gives you a nice transition and demonstrates you are more focused on them than the list in your head. Always ask Open Ended questions that require an explanation rather than Closed Ended that get the Yes or No answers.
5. Trust your gut. Even if, in those first moments, it is clear you have lost the “instant chemistry” test, hold your head high and keep going. For all you know, they may have been having a bad day but if you conduct yourself with integrity and pride that will quickly pass. Always stay true to your gut instincts. The leaders who have achieved great success have stuck with those feelings, even when everyone around them either openly or indirectly doubted or criticized them. If you have a passion or vision (no matter how general or specific), just walk towards it. Keep it in front of you at all times.
Try this mantra: If you think it and speak it, then you will create it.
Many of these ideas have been expressed in written form, televised and/or in audio tapes over the years BUT the thing is…THEY WORK!! Make it a point to review this list or one like it at least monthly until it becomes second nature.
Bill McKinney, PARKS WEST BUSINESS PRODUCTS