June is going to be crazy at the office. I’m starting with two brand new clients, so the pressure is on to not only present myself well but also give a good impression of my company and the work we do. A new client is a fresh start and an amazing opportunity to showcase to your superiors how much you’ve grown in your position. There is a lot of work to do with new accounts, so this is also an excellent opportunity to be proactive and show your stuff. But first and foremost, you’ve got to make a great first impression to your new client.
When introducing yourself for the first time, whether it’s with your new client, on an interview, or networking at an event there are several things to keep in mind. And remember, the first impression goes beyond that first second of a meeting. You have some time to put yourself in good standing.
First, eye contact – This is a big one that not a lot of people acknowledge. I’m not just talking about eye contact when saying hello or shaking a hand. Be sure to look straight into the eye of the person you’re talking to, and smile! Smiling shows in the eyes. If you stare, it’s creepy. If you’re frowning, it’s scary. You want people to feel safe and welcome with you.
Firm handshake – The lame fish handshake is not appropriate, and unfortunately it is STILL stereotypical for a woman to have a “weak” handshake. I’ve had many people tell me they think I’m a lawyer or in finance from my handshake. What that means, I don’t know. But if that’s going to make you think I’m in charge, I’ll take it.
Speak slowly, and thoughtfully – Take a breath, and think about full sentences before you say them aloud. You may be excited to get your ideas out there, but it’s easy to over promise or speak over yourself when you’re focusing on getting someone to like you. Also be genuine and kind – don’t say a joke you’re not sure will go over well or make a side comment about another person. If you have questions on whether the person will like the joke, don’t say it.
Follow up – You may have made a great impact on your new contact, but proof is in the pudding. Be sure to be vocal over email, social media or on the phone to show that you care about forming a great relationship with this new contact.