First Impressions

Business Business Communication Essential Business Etiquette First Impressions: Seven Seconds To Sink Or Swim
23 minutes
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What do people think when you walk into a room... or do they even notice? Help is here! This program holds up a mirror to how you look, sound, dress, and communicate every time you need to make a powerful first impression. Learn how to use what you say, tone of voice, body language, and more to work for you–not against you–the next time you make an entrance. You will learn to: Make introductions with ease. Have a plan before you walk in the room. Understand the nuances of body language. Look professional without appearing stuffy.



Hello, I'm Lydia Ramsay, president and founder of manners Excel. In this session, we're going to be talking about first impressions. And there are certain things certain cliches that we all know about first impressions. We all know that the first impression is the lasting impression. We all know that you only have one chance to make a first impression. So you want to be sure that that first impression is the most powerful and the most positive one that you can make.

And we all know that you only have a very short period of time to make that first impression. how short is it? It's actually somewhere between three and seven seconds. Within three to seven seconds of meeting someone. We form an opinion about the other person. In this session, we're going to be talking about first impressions when you meet some Face to face for the very first time.

What information are they using to form that opinion? Well, if it's face to face 55% of how people judge you is based on what they're seeing. It's based on your appearance. 45% is based on what the other person hears. And of that 45% 38 is based on the tone of voice that you use, and only 7% on the words you actually use. So it's not nearly as important what you say, as the way you say it.

And the way you look when you say it. Because the first impression is so important, I have developed what I refer to as the rule of 12. There are the first 12 words, the first 12 steps, the first 12 inches and the last 12 inches. The first 12 words, refer to the first 12 words that you say to the person when meeting them for the very first time And within your first 12 words, you want to be sure that you say some form of Thank you or appreciation to the other person. Perhaps it's thank you for allowing me to come to your office today, or Thank you for coming in to see me today. Make sure within those first 12 words that you say some form of Thank you or appreciation to the other person, it might be thanking that person for allowing you to come into visit with them to have an interview with them.

It might be that you're thanking the person for coming to you. But say thank you to the other person within your first 12 words. And within the first 12 words, make sure you use the one word that everybody wants to hear more than any other word, and that one word would be the other person's name. We all like to hear our name used. So be sure within your first 12 words you say thank you, Mr. Jones, for allowing me to call on you today. The first 12 steps refer to the speed with which you move.

It's important that you move rapidly that you move with purpose and that you move with energy. When people observe you particularly on meeting you for the very first time, they are going to notice whether you look like you're interested in what you're doing, whether you're committed to them, whether it's the coworker or the customer, or the client. Think about and picture in your mind. Someone who is walking slowly through the office, seemingly in no hurry to get anywhere or to get anything done. And think about the person that you see moving quickly through the office. Moving again with purpose, which person is the one that you want to work with.

Next, we're going to talk about the first 12 inches. The first 12 inches refer to the 12 inches between your shoulders and the top of your head because this is where people look when they meet you for the first time. They will look Look into your face and think about the information that is there. The information that the other person is going to use to form some kind of opinion about your judgement. The information is your facial expression, your eye contact, your grooming. If your hair is well groomed looking professional, if you've paid attention to those details, the other information in this area would be accessories for a woman or jewelry in the workplace.

Is it professional? Or does it take away from her parents? does it add to her parents, more information in this area would have to do with collars and neck lines. So think about it when you dress for work in the morning. If a woman is pulling the sweater over her head and it has a jewel neckline, if she's not careful. Halfway through the day, she's likely to look at that neckline and discover ring around the collar.

So this is the information that people are going to use to judge you the very First time they look into your face. Now we're going to talk about the last 12 inches, the 12 inches essentially between your knees and the floor. That's where people look after they've looked into your face. And one of the first things that people are going to notice when they look at the last 12 inches are your shoes. In fact, there are people who aren't shoe people. There are people who will notice your shoes almost before they notice anything else.

And what the shoe people are looking for is not the latest fashion. They're looking to see if your shoes are well maintained if your shoes are in good condition, if you pay as much attention to the detail of your shoes as you do to all the other detail. The professional businesswoman should wear stockings. That's the finishing touch in the business environment. For the most professional look. For men, men need to be aware of the length of their socks.

Making sure their socks match what they are wearing. And then making sure that those socks match each other, no black and one brown or blue, or whatever. Both black, both Brown. Both look. Just as it's not an option for women to leave stockings off in the business environment, it is not appropriate for men to leave the socks off. also include in those last 12 inches are the length of your skirt and the length of your business pants.

For both men and women, the appropriate length for pants in business is to have the hem of the pants hit at the top of the shoe or the top of the foot. The appropriate length for a skirt in the business environment is right around the knee, maybe an inch below the knee maybe an inch above the knee. Certainly no more than two inches above your knee. People who Want to look professional need to pay attention to him lines and to what everyone is going to notice? from their knees to the floor. Everybody knows the one word that describes the good business handshake, and that one word is firm.

No matter how many people I ask the same question, I get the same answer. Everybody will tell you that the good handshake is a firm handshake. But not everybody gives a good firm handshake. So make sure that yours is a good, firm, professional handshake. And I'm going to tell you how to do that. What you want to do is you want to put your hand out with your fingers together, your thumb out slightly to the side.

And you're trying to then make contact web to web with the other person's hand. All right, once you've made that contact web to web with the other person's hand, that's not the end of the firm handshake. You haven't given a firm handshake yet, you're just in the right position. At this point, in order to make it firm. You want to close your thumb over the back of the other person's hand and get that slight squeeze with your fingertips. Now, it's not a hard squeeze that bone crushing handshake that makes people cry or brings them to their knees.

We're not trying to hurt people in the business environment. Make sure it's firm but not overly firm. And if you don't have that little slight squeeze and you don't close your thumb over the back of the other person's hand What you've ended up doing is giving that limp, dead fish kind of a handshake that nobody likes. Now, occasionally, people, when you put your hand out in the correct position will take your hand to shake it, and they'll stop right there. There is nothing you can do about that. That is it.

You can't say, oops, no, that's wrong. Let's start over. It's done. You just let it go. But if you have your hand in the correct position, and you're ready to shake hands, as soon as you meet someone, you will most likely avoid that uncomfortable half handshake. Another handshake that you want to avoid giving in the business environment is that two handed or the glove handshake, the one where you take the other person's hand in both of your hands, that's perfectly appropriate.

When you're leading church, and when your pastor takes your hand and shakes your hand in that fashion, but in the business environment, it can give off wrong messages. It can be a little bit too intimidating, it can be a little too intimate and intrusive. So never the glove handshake in the business environment. There are two other handshakes that I want to advise you to avoid in the business environment. One is extending fingertips. And very often men and women in the business environment are not necessarily sure how to shake hands and so one or the other will extend just to fingertips.

Men and women shake hands the same way in the business environment. Every woman in business should be prepared to shake hands, and every man in business should be prepared to shake hands with a woman. Men have been doing this for centuries. Women are fairly new to this. So women really need to be prepared and be ready and let men know that they are just as professional with their handshake. As I mentioned, there's no difference in the way men shake hands and the way women shake hands in business.

There's still some confusion about whether a woman needs to rise when Shaking hands in business, and she most definitely does. The woman who remain seated while shaking hands gives away some of her authority and some of her position. So always stand to shake hands. If there is a reason why you cannot stand to shake hands, perhaps you're in a lunch environment, and you've been stuck in the far corner of the booth. Or maybe you're stuck behind the potted plant. In that case, you say to the other person, please excuse me for not getting up, but I'm stuck behind the potted plant.

That way they know that you know, the right thing to do. Now, I mentioned shaking hands with someone who might be seated who might be at a restaurant and in an awkward position. I really don't recommend that you shake hands with people who are eating. If you see someone who is eating, it's perfectly fine to acknowledge that person to go over and speak. But say to that person, I say that you're eating lunch so I won't shake your hand right now. If the person insist on coming over and interrupting your Lunch and shaking your hand.

Then after the person walks away, it's perfectly fine to get up and go wash your hands and start over again. Also, if you cannot shake hands, for instance, you might have arthritis, you might have something that prevents you from shaking hands at the time. You need to explain that to the other person as well. If you have a cold, you certainly don't want to shake other people's hands, and they don't want you to shake hands. You want to say, Please forgive me for not shaking your hand, but I have a bad cold. Other people will be very grateful that you're not shaking hands.

But otherwise, unless you have a good reason for not shaking hands, we always shake hands in business. Now let's talk about introductions in business. When you're meeting people, for the first time, introductions play an important part. And we need to think about how to introduce ourselves to other people, and how to introduce other people to each other. First of all, let's talk about introducing yourself, when and how you introduce yourself. Obviously, you're going to introduce yourself to someone that you don't know, when you are seated next to someone that you don't know or standing next to someone or encounter someone that you don't know, immediately assume the responsibility and introduce yourself.

Don't wait for somebody else to do it. Don't wait for the other person to do it. Give the other person a gift. That would be the gift of your name. Now, the next time that you're going to introduce yourself is to someone that you already know. Why would you introduce yourself to someone that you already know there are two occasions when you're going to want to do this.

One is when you see someone that you haven't seen for a while. Possibly someone whose name you remember, but you're not sure if that other person is going to remember you. Give that person the gift of your name. Walk up to that person and immediately say who you are the next time You're going to want to introduce yourself to someone that you already know is when you can't remember that other person's name. If you introduce yourself, that is the cue for the other person to say who he is in return. So introduce yourself to people that you know.

And don't be hesitant about doing that. Once again, as we've said, People forget names all the time. The person who looks at you and says, of course, I remember who you are, probably was thinking as you approached, oh, my goodness, Who in the world is that person? That face is so familiar, but I don't have a name to go with it. So give people a gift and introduce yourself often. Now, let's talk about introducing other people.

Introductions can give people just about as much trouble as their table manners. Getting The order right, saying the names correctly, giving information about the other people that you're introducing is an area where people stumble very often, business etiquette is based on rank and hierarchy, unlike social etiquette, which is based on age and gender. So when you're making introductions in the business world, you always want to introduce the less important person to the more important person or the junior person, to the senior person. The way in which you do that is to say the name of the most important person first, say the name of the President, the CEO, the mayor, whoever is the most important person, say the name of that person first. And then you want to be sure that you use the right words. The words that you want to use to be a polished professional in making introductions are, I'd like to introduce or I'd like to introduce to you and then say the name of the person, avoid using phrases like I'd like for you to meet.

Or this is when you say I'd like for you to meet. For instance, if you say Mr. Brown, I'd like for you to meet Miss Smith, you've reversed the order of your introduction. When you use the words, this is Mr. Brown, this is Miss Smith, Miss Smith. This is Mr. Brown. It's not nearly as professional and polished. The other thing you want to be sure to do in business introductions, and in all introductions is to say something about the people that you're introducing.

You want to tell Mr. Brown, who Miss Smith is and you want to let Miss Smith know who Mr. Brown is. So you introduce Mr. Brown to Miss Smith, and then you in turn reintroduce the Smith to Mr. Brown. Once you said something about who they are, they have the basis for a conversation. For example, when you're introducing Mr. Brown and Miss Smith to each other, you would say Mr. Brown, I would like to introduce Miss Smith. Miss Smith is the newest director of marketing for our company, Miss Smith. Mr. Brown is the CEO of the company.

If you do not give any information about either one, then there's a very awkward moment why everyone wonders who the other person is and why you're making this introduction. Now, what do you do when you have forgotten the other person's name, and you need to introduce that person to someone else. If you fail to make the introduction, it's extremely awkward for everyone. So you can't just ignore the situation. At this point, you're going to have to say to the other person, that you have forgotten the name, ask them to forgive you. And to please remind you of the name.

If the introduction is not occurring, certainly take responsibility right away. Don't wait. Don't hesitate. Put out your hand and introduce yourself and tell the other person have IGR to meet that person. This takes your friend who has possibly forgotten the other person's name, or simply doesn't realize you don't know that other person. This takes your friend off the hook.

Be sure that you have plenty of business cards with you. Check your business cards, make sure you have enough for everybody. There's nothing that's more unprofessional and having someone ask you for a card and you say to them, Oh, I'm sorry. I don't think I have any with me or I just gave out my last business card. Also, make sure you know where they are. You don't want to have to fumble around through all your pockets looking in your wallet or digging through.

Your handbag in order to come up with a business card, put your business cards in your pocket, put them in your jacket pocket. And then all you need to do is just reach in the pocket where you know you put those business cards, pull out the business card and hand it to the other person. Make sure you have a system for exchanging business cards for giving and receiving the cards. If you keep your business cards in your right hand pocket, then put the business cards that you collect from other people in your left hand pocket. Nothing is more embarrassing, then reaching into your pocket and pulling out someone else's business card to hand to the person. So make sure you're giving out your cards and not someone else's.

When you hand your business card to someone, be sure you hand it to that person so that he can read it immediately without having to turn it around. And when you receive an another person's card, look at it right away, make some sort of comment about it that indicates that you think this is important information. And that indicates that you're interested in knowing more about the person. Unless the other person asked for several of your business cards, be discriminating, only give one at a time. Occasionally somebody will say, may I have several of those to take back to my office? In that case, give them several.

But unless they ask, give only one at a time, if you give out five or six or a dozen people think they're not very important and very valuable items of information. Wait until other people ask before you give them your business card. Now, you want other people to have your cards. So if in fact they are not suggesting that you give them one, the easiest thing to do is to simply say do you have a business card, may I have your card? In that case, the other person will most likely reply with the same question. May I have your card, then you have the opportunity for the exchange.

It can be in the produce department of your favorite grocery store. It could be on the tennis courts. It could be at your local library doesn't have to be when you are in the big executive office, that the opportunity to make a powerful First Impression will occur. Remember that your appearance and your tone of voice count more than your words. Make sure that your body language and your facial expression match what you're saying. You never know when you're going to have that opportunity to make a first impression.

So always be prepared.

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