You have 30 seconds or less to make a first impression. Whatever happens during that time sets the stage for the future of the relationship. You either create positive impressions that will generate business, or negative impressions that may drive clients away.
1. Zap negative self-talk. In order to behave confidently, you must think confidently. Your thoughts can influence how successful you’ll be.
2. Take initiative. Instead of waiting for others to form impressions of you, determine how you want to be perceived. What three adjectives do you want others to associate with you? Behave and speak in ways that are consistent with those qualities.
3. Deliver an authentic, consistent message in all areas of your life. If you act one way with certain people, and differently with others, you’ll come across as a fraud. Plus, the effort is exhausting.
4. Share what you can do, not what you can’t. Whatever goal you focus on, emphasize your strengths. Your talent will grow, and you’ll be associated with success.
5. Focus on what’s going right in your life, instead of what’s going wrong. A complainer drains energy from others, drives them away and earns the reputation of someone to avoid.
6. Discover what you’re passionate about, get involved and share your interests. Enthusiasm is contagious! People want to be around others who are excited about life.
7. Know that you will naturally be associated with the people who surround you. If you choose to spend time with people who are known for negative characteristics such as gossiping or backstabbing, you’ll be guilty by association.
8. Give credit where credit is due. A strong, confident individual can acknowledge the successes of others without feeling threatened.
9. Acknowledge your own hard work. Attributing your success to “luck” undervalues your skills and gives the impression that you have no
control over your successes and therefore cannot repeat them in the future.
10. Admit mistakes immediately and focus on problem-solving. Responding quickly will earn you respect, whereas procrastinating could cause irreparable damage.
11. Help others fulfill their needs, solve their problems and achieve their goals. You will be demonstrating your skills and abilities without bragging.
12. Practice the Platinum Rule. Communicate with others as they want to be communicated with, not based on your needs. Some people prefer that you simply state the facts, while others prefer socializing.
13. Commit to listening, which is different from hearing. Listening is active and requires focus and energy. Hearing is passive and requires no special skills or effort.
14. Control your environment as much as possible to eliminate distractions. Turn off phones, close doors, or change locations. Setting yourself up for success is half the battle.
15. Take note of how often people repeat things to you. If you find that others often repeat what they say, this may indicate that they don’t feel you’re listening and/or don’t trust that you understand.
16. Show that you’re listening. Maintain eye contact, nod your head and occasionally give vocal cues, such as saying, “mmm hmm.” Make sure that you’re sincere, because others will know when you’re faking attentiveness.
17. Give your full attention to the speaker. Set aside other tasks for the moment. The time you would have saved by multitasking will easily be recouped through the reduction of misunderstandings.
18. Match your words with your actions. When speech and body language are inconsistent, we believe what we see rather than what we hear. Actions really do speak louder than words!
19. Wait to interject. Keep your thoughts or questions to yourself until the speaker pauses (even a rambler needs to breathe at some point!) so that you won’t rudely interrupt her.
20. Understand first, then respond. Judgment and criticism act as barriers to
21. Clarify what is being said. Early and often throughout the conversation, paraphrase the speaker’s key points in your own words.
22. Respond to the speaker’s entire message. People most reliably convey emotions and feelings through nonverbal communication, such as facial expressions, eye contact and posture. If you interpret a person’s message based on words alone, you’ll miss half the message.
23. Develop a sense of empathy. Attempt to understand others’ perspectives and worldviews by imagining yourself in their shoes.
24. Consider what’s being communicated through your physical appearance. Do you look confident, competent and trustworthy? Clothing, hairstyle, grooming, tattoos, body piercings and other accessories influence your overall message.
25. Stay engaged by asking questions. This will show your interest and help to focus your attention if your mind begins to drift.
26. Smile to signal friendliness and extend an open invitation to conversation. Be the first to offer a smile and it will likely be reciprocated.
27. Look directly into the eyes of the person you are addressing. Looking anywhere else makes your message less believable.
28. Appear open and approachable. Let your arms hang naturally at your sides. Keeping your arms folded across your chest sends the message that
you are rejecting information or do not
want to be approached.
29. Maintain appropriate personal space. Between 4 feet and 18 inches is considered an acceptable distance for business situations and casual socializing. Standing closer than 18 inches can be considered too intimate.
30. Stand and sit up straight. Posture speaks volumes
about your confidence level.
-Susan Fee, licensed counselor, executive business coach and author
[Image: Nan Palmero via Flickr]Meh