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8 Expert Tips to Leave a Lasting Positive Impression

  • June 6, 2017
  • Written by Community Futures Manitoba

First impressions are make-or-break moments, where you’re given the opportunity to put your best foot forward and strike up connections that could take your business to the next level. Due to the importance of these opening conversations, many entrepreneurs crave a way to guarantee a favorable impression every time. 

Community Futures Manitoba has the answer you’ve been looking for. We have compiled a list of the top 8 strategies for leaving a positive impression, including verbal tips, body language tricks, and tactics that successful entrepreneurs swear by. Read through the list below and then download our free e-book about building better customer and business relationships!

VERBAL TIPS

Make it about “you,” not “I”

Try a little experiment: record a 10-minute conversation between you and a friend (be sure to get their permission beforehand). Then, review the recording and count the number of times you say “I” versus “you.” Were you mostly talking about yourself or the other person?

The greater the number of “you’s” and “yours” compared to self-centric pronouns like “I” and “my,” the better your odds of leaving a positive impression. It is a simple way to demonstrate that you’re focused on the other person rather than yourself.

Ask questions

In grade school, you may have been taught to read a piece of literature and ask:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

It turns out that this method of questioning is not only great when studying literature, but also when making conversation. Questions like “Why do you think that is?” signal to the other person that you’re actively listening and are interested in what they have to say.

End with something specific from the conversation

When closing out a conversation, win major points by mentioning something that was discussed earlier. Don’t forget to mention their name as well! For instance, this could sound like: “Jerry, I really appreciate your advice about bookkeeping. I’ll be sure to check out FreshBooks this week and see if I can streamline my company finances a bit.”

BODY LANGUAGE TIPS

Mimic the speaker’s body language

Humans are experts at reading body language thanks to millennia of evolution. Use this to your advantage by slightly mimicking the other person’s body language, such as leaning in slightly when they do or holding your hands the same way.

When done well, mimicry can unconsciously leave a favorable impression upon listeners, as demonstrated by New York University’s “chameleon effect” study. Just be sure not to force it. It will be immediately apparent if you’re strategically mirroring the other person’s behavior, which can turn them off.

Tip: Being genuine is one of the secrets to better in-person interactions, especially at networking events. Find out the other 5 secrets and become a better networker, even if you have a more introverted personality. 

Make great posture a habit

You may think of yourself as a friendly person but if you walk into a room with shoulders hunched and arms crossed, most people will keep their distance. If you find yourself stooping or rolling your shoulders forward—maybe from hours at a desk every day—retrain your body to stand tall by imagining a string pulling your sternum (breastbone) upward toward the ceiling.

Practice open facial expressions

Unintentionally squinting or pursing your lips—these are signs of hostility or boredom. Practice maintaining open, friendly facial expressions like slightly arched eyebrows and a relaxed mouth with the corners turned up.

TACTICS USED BY SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS

Never stop learning and experiencing  

Do you know someone that always shares the most enthralling stories or can talk to anyone about any subject? Chances are good that this person makes learning a daily habit.

In a study of more than 1,200 wealthy, successful professionals, Steve Siebold (a self-made millionaire himself) discovered that one of the most common pastimes was reading for educational purposes. Bill Gates, for instance, reads approximately one book per week to expand his mind.  

Shutting off the TV in favor of a book, listening to podcasts, and immersing yourself in new experiences ensures that you have plenty to talk about and build rapport over—another secret of successful entrepreneurs, discussed next.  

Too busy to read every day? Free up valuable hours by fitting your company’s marketing activities into just 30 minutes a day.

Build rapport

Building rapport, or a mutual understanding or harmonious relationship, is a go-to strategy for top influencers. Take Oprah, for example. When guests star on her talk show, she only has minutes to connect, make them feel welcome, and encourage them to open up about in-depth topics, some of them painful.

Oprah makes the most of these minutes by exuding empathy and putting herself in the shoes of her listener. She matches their energy and tone and finds common ground with which to anchor the conversation, cultivating trust that causes gusests to speak comfortably. Do the same when meeting new people and you’ll leave nothing but favorable impressions in your wake.

Now that you know how to make a positive first impression, discover how to cement lasting relationships with customers and businesspeople.

Download “5 Simple Strategies to Build Better Customer and Business Relationships”

A FREE e-book from Community Futures Manitoba!