First impressions set the stage for how someone sees you. Most human beings draw conclusions about others from the first thing they do or say. In business, that means that initial meeting is especially important.
Authenticity in your actions and speech can create a great first impression in many circles, but only if your authenticity isn’t forced. To help, 10 members of Young Entrepreneur Council reflect on the following question:
Q: What’s one thing someone should remember when trying to connect with people authentically and make a good first impression? Why?
Read on to discover their best tips on creating genuine connections in business.
1. Focus on How You Can Provide Value
The best way to connect and form relationships with others is to focus on how you can add value to them. As human beings, we are selfish. When we approach connection with “what can I get,” this can create bad, off-putting energy for the person on the receiving end. Instead, focus on how to add value to the other person and the interaction immediately feels less self-serving and more authentic. – Leanne Lopez Mosley, GROW Coaching Solutions
2. Give, Give, Then Ask
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever learned about forming genuine connections is to start every conversation with the intention to give. Do your homework and understand who you’re meeting, what motivates them, and what interests them before you meet. In your meeting, talk about things that you’re both passionate about, and outright ask, “How can I help you with X?” – Steven Knight, Mosaic Home Services Ltd.
3. Show Genuine Interest
Show real interest in the other person. Think about why you want to connect with that someone. Is it something they did? Are they your new boss or new colleague? Develop on that. Doing this will allow you to know that person better and find common ground. We all feel more drawn to people we have things in common with. – Riccardo Conte, Virtus Flow
4. Learn Something New About Them
Want to connect authentically with people? Try to learn something new about the person. It’s not about you giving them a lecture on what you care about, whether that’s your product, ideas, or yourself. It’s about the person with whom you’re having a conversation. Interject to elaborate on topics they care about or to clarify what they’ve said. It works because they see you care. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
5. Be Fully Present in the Moment
To connect with people authentically, it’s important to be fully present in the moment. To show the other person that you’re listening and genuinely want to make a connection, it helps to say their name, especially when meeting for the first time. Slipping a person’s name into the conversation ensures them that you’re interested in getting to know them. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
6. Be Transparent and Authentic
Be you. Transparency and authenticity go a long way when trying to make a good first impression. If you’re a confident individual, embrace that as much as possible without coming off as arrogant. If you have any other strong personality traits, don’t shy away from them. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
7. Be Humble About Your Success
One of the best ways to create authentic connections with new people is to be humble about your success. Being humble makes you more approachable to others and more enjoyable to be around. By not focusing solely on your own successes, you can display a more authentic interest in others and create better first impressions and longer lasting business relationships. – Jordan Conrad, Writing Explained
8. Be Comfortable in Awkward Situations
Being comfortable in awkward situations will help you connect with people authentically and make a positive lasting impression. If you’re uncomfortable and stiff, others will be able to sense it and will most likely have an off impression of you. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
9. Ensure Your Words and Body Language Match
Visual cues are as important as what you say. Your body language speaks as loudly as your words. For instance, if you’re smiling and making eye contact with someone and your words contradict that message, you’ll come across as untrustworthy. When your body language and words match, you will leave an excellent first impression. Don’t forget about facial expressions either! – Nick Perzichilli, Zürtech AG
10. Have Positive Energy
People are drawn to others who make them feel uplifted and empowered, so strive to be that positive light in someone else’s life. Be energetic and focus on building others up instead of blaming situations on things that are out of your control. If people leave your meeting feeling inspired, they will remember you and will want to collaborate with you well into the future. – Shaun Conrad, Guitar Repair Bench Online Lessons
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.