Can I have your attention please?

Whether you are attending a networking event, representing your company at a trade show, or meeting with a potential new client, making a good first impression is crucial.

You’ve probably heard the statistic, “You have an average of 7 seconds to make a good first impression.” So don’t waste it!

Having said that, how do you stand out, connect authentically, and create a lasting impression? Here are a few suggestions:

Do your research. Before you meet with a new client or go to an event, spend some time researching as much as you can about the situation you will be in. Identify some potential pains or challenges that your potential client might have. Being prepared with questions and insights will show your interest and dedication upfront.

Know who you are meeting with. Most of us have online profiles. Take the time to look at their LinkedIn profile to learn their background. It may give you a better understanding of who they are and what goals they have in their position. It will also give you more insight into them as a person and things you might have in common. This is great for starting conversations and finding common ground.

Be clear about who you are and what you offer (but be authentic!) Ultimately, you are there to help solve a problem, because – let’s face it – you are the expert. Don’t promise to do something you can’t, but share your knowledge and give a little away. Not only will it help them see your strengths, but also it feels good.

Share! Share stories about your experience with their brand, their product or their service. This builds trust and connection. If you have never had direct contact with their brand, then share your experience with their industry.

Rework your tagline or mission statement to appeal to that potential client. Sometimes tweaking or reworking your tagline can help you connect faster with a potential client.

For example by changing our tagline from, “Strategia Design is a branding and design firm that creates visual solutions.” to “We help companies create connections to their consumers through strategically-focused visual design and branding programs” we can create a different and stronger impression of what we do.

Learn about your client’s history and the evolution of their company. There is not a single big, established company that started out as a big, established company. They all started out small, just like you and me. The journey is the interesting part – ask questions and learn from them. It may help you along the way as well!

Know how their industry has changed or evolved over the last 5-10 years. The game has changed and you have to be conscious and open-minded about this. We cannot do things the same way we did in the past – it just won’t work.

And finally, listen. Start the conversation about them. Remember, it is not just about you – it is about the other person and how you can help.

What are your best tips for making a good first impression? How do you make the most of those seven seconds? Leave your thoughts in the space below!