Every time you step out your door you run the risk of making a bad first impression on someone. We make and form first impressions constantly. They happen so quickly that most of the time we aren’t even aware they have occurred. It takes just a few seconds to make a first impression, and can take a lifetime to try to undo them. So how can you make sure that you always present the best of yourself to others?

Whether you’re going for an interview or meeting a client for the first time these few simple and inexpensive tips can make the difference between a hit and a miss during those important encounters.


While we could dwell on the finer points of chair-sitting etiquette, it’s best to leave that topic to it’s own dedicated blog post.


Always arrive on time

Nothing says “I don’t care” better than arriving late to an appointment. A potential employer doesn’t even have to set eyes on you to form a negative opinion in this situation. Arriving 10 minutes early is the norm, so plan out your route and count for those inevitable traffic delays when computing your drive time.

Dress for the occasion

There is an upper limit to how formal your attire should be...

There is an upper limit to how formal your attire should be…

Dressing appropriately for the situation, whether it is a business meeting, an interview, or a social gathering, is an important element in making a good impression when taking that first step into the room. This does not have to involve buying out your local retailer. A simple accessory can alter the look of an existing outfit without having to cost a fortune. A wrinkled suit, stained blouse, or inappropriate attire can say more about your character than a thousand words. Taking some time to make sure your clothes are clean, pressed, and right for the occasion will pay off in the long run. One perhaps obvious thing to mention about dress is that it is always, in my experiences, better to be overdressed that under.

Push those nerves aside

It’s common to become nervous when meeting someone new or trying to land that ultimate job. But your unease has the potential of putting others on edge as well. Try to be confident and be aware of when your nerves are getting the best of you. A few deep breaths before walking through the door, some self-talk to boost your confidence, and a sincere smile on your face will let others know that you are in control of the situation and ready to ace that interview!

Body language speaks louder than words

You want to appear open to ideas, willing to listen to criticism, and ready to answer questions. Letting others know you are interested in their thoughts and ideas can be undermined through negative body language. Standing up tall can help you exude confidence, uncrossing your arms shows you are ready to receive information, and maintaining eye contact makes the other person aware you are really paying attention to the conversation. Top that off with having your smile ready and you can’t lose.

By following these few simple tips you can be assured that every first encounter will end up with the other person having formed a great impression of you. This can help to maintain that relationship and allow for your other characteristics to shine through.

New Jersey business development consulting

David Wolfskehl is a frequent author and speaker on the business development issues related to niche marketing strategies and client interaction.  To schedule a client interaction training session in New Jersey, contact him today at 1 (908) 393-2722.

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