I think it is human nature to want to make the right first impression, no matter what the circumstance. Deep down I think we all have that part of us that wants everyone to like us. As we get older, the need for being liked has a competitor – the need for being wanted. Whether it is as a potential companion or service provider we want to be wanted. Again, basic human nature and nothing wrong with that and it all starts from that first impression.
As kids, it was fairly easy –show up on the cool bike, with the best bat or even with the most coveted snacks and you made a great first impression. The rules change as we get older and it is more difficult to manage the scary world of acceptance.
As an adult, how do you know if you made the right impression? If you are at a networking event you cannot gauge this on the number of cards you collect because there are many professional card-passer-outers at networking events.
It is a simple test: when you first introduced yourself to someone, did they ask you a question? If so you have opened the door of engagement and therefore have the opportunity to set the tone for the right first impression.
Once you can get someone to ask you a question you can help direct the conversation and showcase the skills, abilities, services and offerings that could be important to that person or someone they know. This, in turn, could lead to business opportunities or stronger channel networks.
Before you network again, ask yourself this: what do I want people to know about me? Once you answer that question ask yourself: how do I lead into this, what question could they ask that would naturally open the door?
You must know what question you want them to ask in order to prepare your elevator speech. If you find that people are not naturally asking that magic question then take some time to think about what is their first response to your opening. How have they been lead to that particular response based upon what you said? It could simply be a matter of tweaking.
It is important that you prepare this opening carefully to try to reach the desired results as you only have one shot at making that first impression. Putting time and research into preparing a short introduction has the potential to pay off in very big dividends. Perhaps some of the people that you talk to are not going to be able to utilize your services; however, if you make that right first impression they will remember you for friends and family that can.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.