Join Simon T. Bailey for an in-depth discussion in this video Making a first impression, part of Building Business Relationships.
When I joined a Fortune 500 company, I was fortunate enough to be invited along with a select group of individuals to have breakfast with the president. I arrived early on the day of the meeting, and I found that I was seated way in the back of the room. So what do you think I did? I switched it so that I could sit at the front, right next to the most powerful man in the company. Well, when the event started I had a burning question to ask him. He turned to me and asked how things were going.
I said, awesome. I then asked him, what do I have to do to get ahead here at the company? He said, you need to know who you are and why you are here. When he said it, quite honestly it went right over my head. However, I nodded and gave him the screensaver face as if I really understood what he meant. Needless to say this was probably not the best first impression.
Many years later I ran into him and he reminded me of our first meeting. Creating a memorable first impression is vital to building business relationships. You should carefully consider how you want others to see you, know you, and tell others about you. It all starts with a few simple steps that make a significant difference. One, dress the part. Identify how the senior team dresses. And if you aspire to be in their role, then model what you see in them.
However, don't go into debt for a wardrobe. You do not have to overdress. But dress to impress. Always keep your physical appearance clean and professional. Two, represent yourself. Always present yourself in a professional manner, in your email and online presence. You never know when your email or other communication is being reviewed. Three, make the impression. When you connect with someone for the first time, ask more questions and talk less.
People love to talk about themselves. Four, keep it subtle. If you ever find yourself at a function, do not over-indulge at the open bar. Have a minimum, and cut it off. If there's dancing, dance to enjoy, not to show how much of a party animal you are. And if you're like me and you have no rhythm, then dance in place. Five, never forget the power of a thank you. After you meet an executive, you should follow up within 24 hours with a handwritten note or email, letting them know you appreciate their time.
Six, be known as a person that will get things done. Producing results is a guaranteed, get you on the radar screen move for key leaders. Remember this, you have only one opportunity to make a great first impression. Take the initiative and build a business relationship.
Discover how you can build meaningful rapport, set yourself up for visibility and success, manage up when you don't click, develop executive presence, and cross-train within a team to better serve the organization.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
- Understanding the four key business relationships
- Building relationships in person and virtually
- Supporting your manager's objectives
- Articulating your needs to your manager
- Managing up
- Communicating with difficult team members
- Resolving cross-department conflict
- Identifying mentors and sponsors
- Making first impressions with executives<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.