8 pros give their best advice on making a good first impression


Are you communicating clearly who you are?

You are new to the organization. You are learning the ropes and trying to figure out the culture and the politics of the company you are now working for. You wonder how to fit in while standing out. You begin to find yourself in networking situations, company meetings and hallway conversations where it is important to be your authentic self while also demonstrating your professionalism.
Many of the professionals I coach discuss these critical opportunities and ask how they can make the best impression and ultimately establish professional presence that gets them noticed and appreciated. They often say things like, “Well, when I get the opportunity to interact with the senior team, I get nervous and tend to ramble or say too much. I just feel awkward and not worthy.”
The journey to presence and confidence takes time. You can start by learning how to simplify your message to more effectively capture your listener’s attention. I tell my clients to practice “thinking in tweets”. 140 characters to say what you need to say. It can be a powerful way to hone the skill of brevity and clarity.
So, to practice what I preach, I decided to approach a group of my professional colleagues who are in the business of helping bring out the best in their clients. I asked them the question: What is your best advice for making a good first impression in the business setting? And I gave them the challenge of sharing it with me as a tweet.
So, here’s what they said:

1 Bring your best (authentic) self. Listen for what the people you are meeting care about. Practice “yes, and . . .” to build from there.

Pamela Meyer // Author • Speaker • Consultant // Working with organizations that want to be more agile and innovative. //Meyer Creativity Associates • meyercreativity.com

2 Prepare in advance for the audience, dress for the occasion, engage people in conversation about themselves, nail your elevator speech.

Jackie Loewe, Relationship Building Coach // Sheridan Park Consulting // www.sheridanparkconsulting.com // jackie@sheridanparkconsulting.com

3 Be a good listener. Ask interesting questions. Tell a good (short) story. Don’t have a bit of broccoli hanging on your cheek.

Jill Pollack, StoryStudio Chicago // www.storystudiochicago.com //@storystudio //@jill_pollackhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/jillpollack

4 Enter the room like you belong there and follow through on your promises.

Stacey Hanke Inc. // www.staceyhankeinc.com

5 Listen, learn, connect: business is about the we not the me. Collaboration is key!

Carol Semrad, SPHR // Collaborator & Connecter, C Semrad & Associates // csemrad.com. // @collabwithu.

6 To make a good 1st impression: Be a good listener & a good conversationalist. Smile. Say thank you. More tips: http://tinyurl.com/oxy52l.  

Jill Stewart // jills@stewcommltd.com //@jillstewart

7 Be positive. Smile. Listen. Do more than expected. Keep learning.

Mike Burke // Buffett Early Childhood Fund. // www.buffettearlychildhoodfund.org

8 Demonstrate respect, be generous, recognize you have a lot to learn, ask questions, be curious and socialize ideas to ensure buy-in.

Mari Pat Varga// www.vargacom.com // @MPVarga

Thanks to my esteemed colleagues for sharing their best advice – briefly. Be more of who you are and bring your best self to every occasion and you will succeed. And don’t forget, presence does take practice.