How we present ourselves when meeting someone for the first time makes a lasting impression, one that you can never go back and change. When you are introducing yourself to someone you’ve never met, it is highly important that you put your best face forward and a firm, knowing handshake, one that communicates, “Hi, I’m very glad to meet you.”
I’ve heard some interesting stories about first impressions. One friend shared that when she met a friend’s wife, the woman barely had a handshake to offer. She limply offered her hand, then immediately looked away as they were being introduced. The first impression made here was that the friend’s wife had zero interest in meeting her husband’s friend. It also came off as disrespectful. This type of first impression can overshadow all the positive qualities about a person.
When you meet new people, what is your approach? The formula is very simple. A pleasant smile, bright eyes, and a firm handshake are important. Don’t break the person’s hand, but don’t make them think they’re holding a pile of gummy worms either. Be ready with an easy greeting: “Hi, I’m _______. It’s nice to meet you!” That’s it. A very easy little introduction and it goes a long way.
Hygiene also matters in these moments. As superficial as it may seem to some, it’s actually very important that you take care of the little things, such as making sure you don’t have food in your teeth or that you have the overall look of someone who takes good care of him or herself. I’m not saying you should show up in formal attire everywhere you go, but you should be mindful of your appearance in terms of not running around with spaghetti sauce on yesterday’s shirt. Even if all you’re wearing is a white t-shirt and jeans, the fact that you’re dressed in something clean provides the impression that you’re feeling fresh and positive.
Obviously this wouldn’t happen if you’re meeting someone after say, MMA practice, but you get the point.
It also doesn’t matter whether you like someone or not. Even if the person you are meeting is a politician you can’t stand or a controversial celebrity, you are still responsible for representing yourself and your business in as positive and strong a manner as possible.
As a business owner, this is super important. You represent your business just as much as your team members do. How you present yourself to people automatically speaks to your vision and work ethic. If you’re happy to meet new people, they feel welcomed by you, and this should be the general attitude shared by your team in order to attract new clients and keep them.
If it helps, practice your approach in the mirror in case you need to recalibrate the strength of your smile. You may be very surprised to see what you actually look like vs what you think others see.