Business Etiquette Tips – How to Make a Positive First Impression
In today’s highly competitive business market, executives, college graduates, entrepreneurs and those involved in business need that extra quality that will distinguish them from the competition. Knowledge of business etiquette is the answer. It is a powerful tool that will distinguish you as a leader, project integrity, loyalty, honesty and authority. It will make a difference between you and another person with the same technical skills and knowledge. Potential and current clients or employers will feel confident that their business interests will be cared for with the same correctness you exhibit during your interactions.
Based on research conducted by Harvard University, The Carnegie Foundation and The Stanford Research Institute, 85% of your job success is connected to your people skills. Technical skills and knowledge account for 15%.
It takes less than 5 seconds to make an impression on someone and you generally do not have a second chance at it. You need to make it count the first time. Here are some valuable pointers to get you started on the right path to making a great first impression:
- Appearance. The moment you enter a room or approach someone your clothes are the first impression you make. Consider your business wardrobe an important investment and go for quality. Your wardrobe should consist of conservative, nicely tailored, well fitting professional clothing in neutral colors. This will immediately identify you as a serious and competent business person. Go for a neat, clean and crisp appearance. Being properly groomed is imperative. Your shoes should be shined or clean and in good condition. Save your trendy outfits and casual attire for weekends and vacations. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
- Know how to make an entrance. Most everyone watches the entrance to a room so use it to your advantage. When you walk into a business meeting, reception or party you need to walk in with confidence. Keep your shoulders square and chin up. Good posture creates an impression of confidence and leadership. Pause for a moment to survey the room and the people in it. Make eye contact, smile and acknowledge people. Don’t be in a rush and don’t walk in texting, talking on your cellphone or otherwise ignoring the people around you.
- Introductions. Be prepared to greet, shake hands and introduce yourself. Keep your right hand free. Extend your hand with the thumb up and fingers extended and give a firm (not bone crushing or limp) handshake with two smooth pumps from the elbow.
- Mingle. Learn how to engage in small talk. The ability to mingle is an extremely important people skill. It breaks the ice and allows you to make a connection. It’s polite. Take time to read the local paper and stay current on events for tidbits of information that might make good conversation. Avoid negativity or subjects concerning your health, money, off-color jokes, politics, gossip and controversial issues. Focus on the other person and be a good listener. Don’t interrupt.
Utilizing these tips will put you on the right path to enhance your professional image and leave others with a polished and positive first impression.