Most people typically make judgments in less than a minute and for someone trying to climb the professional ladder, making a spectacular first impression is very important at networking events and interviews.
Here are a few ways to make sure your first impression at any professional event is one to guarantee a step in the right direction for you.
- Define your goals beforehand
As is the case with almost everything else, setting out by defining what you hope to achieve is always a great way to go. Understand the event you’re attending and the kind of people you hope to meet, go over what conversation topics you will want to talk about either to subtly sell yourself or for another “career advancing” reason. Do your research on some of these people if you have to. Anything to make sure you’re ready to be as impressive and interesting as can be.
- Your Body Language Says A lot
You should be careful to not be oblivious of what message your body language passes across on your behalf. The first step to making a great impression is being aware of what gestures or postures you’re exhibiting.
Never underestimate the power of a firm handshake in place of a wave or a mere “Hello”. A firm handshake always gives you a more assertive, more confident demeanor; you can never go wrong when you exude confidence, trust us.
You should also be sure to give off vibes that show that you are interested in a conversation and not that you are forcing yourself to talk to this person. People can perceive these things.
- Dress the part
You can talk the part and act the part but you should also not forget to look impressive at networking evens or interviews. Any event with the purpose of fast-tracking your career requires you to look a little more presentable than the average social event. Whatever your choice of attire may be, point is to keep it simple and classy.
- Be Observant
Remember sometime during your childhood when you were told to listen before speaking? This advice comes in handy now as a great way to make an impression; observe your audience before diving in. You will most likely have more interesting conversations when you pay attention to who it is you’re talking to and what topics they may be really interested in.
Ask the right questions about their work, passion projects, what drives them; questions that show off your interest in learning more about them which will in turn encourage them to be interested in you as well.