Remember that people judge you by what they see, hear and sense. In the first 30 seconds, the time it will take you to make your elevator pitch, people will form opinions about your economic level, your trustworthiness, your social position, your level of sophistication, social background, your success in present and current endeavors, your character, your future and decide if they like you.
Those are some pretty stout decisions to make in 30 seconds or less. So what can you do to ensure you are prepared to put your best foot forward? Some of this stuff sounds so simplistic that is could be insulting, but many of us operate on auto pilot in the morning and we may not be as prepared as we should be.
Here are some steps to ensure that you can make a lasting and best impression and that you are ready for business when you walk out that door.
The Night Before:
Look at your schedule to see who you are meeting and where you are supposed to be. If it’s your work make a game plan for the next day.
If you are traveling by air reconfirm your reservations.
Pack extra glasses, tissues, aspirin, cough drops and any other medication you might need in your attache or briefcase.
Double-check that you have enough cash, the proper forms of identification, credit cards, itinerary before you leave home.
Review your appointments to ensure you have times and locations correct.
Make sure that you carry emergency contact info, addresses and even directions.
Note: I once got into a cab at Newark airport and told him to take me to Jacob Javitz Convention Center and he had no idea where that was. I had to give him the physical address.
Check your clothes the night before. Make sure everything is clean, no loose buttons or hems coming out. Get a back up outfit ready in case of emergencies. If it’s new wear it around the house for a little while to ensure you are comfortable in it.
Make sure you have the right accessories for a fashion statement.
Remove body piercings and cover any visible tattoos.
Forget mini or micro skirts, tee shirts and other unprofessional attire.
Wear the right shoes. No flip-flops or super high heels.
Eliminate distracting fashion statements such as overlong, ornate fingernails and exotic hair dos.
Tone down the perfume or cologne.
Use subtle, not outlandish makeup
Business tools and accessories: Organize your briefcase, laptop, file folders and presentation materials.
Be sure you have the right paperwork for your upcoming meetings
You want to look accomplished and prepared when you are in your meeting.
Have copies of handouts or other materials readily available.
Make sure you have your cell phone charged and accessible.
Make sure you have plenty of business cards.
Note: If you have a new gadget ensure you know how to use it before walking out that door.
Small talk and opening gambits: Organize your thoughts for your 30 second elevator pitch.
Have some interesting small talk prepared to warm up a
cold client or to get a dialogue going.
A good way to do this is to pick something from the headlines of USA today.
NOTE: pick a non-controversial topic.
Be prepared with the right contact names and numbers should
something happen to delay or prevent your presentation?
Do you have a plan B should the person you are meeting be
Think about why you are there in the first place. If you are going to work, what is the goal you hope to accomplish today?
Attitude is important so turn yours up before you walk out that door. In a bad mood? Lighten the moment with a joke to yourself. You can influence someone’s perception of you with the right attitude, tools and behavior. Just remember the first impression is usually a lasting one.
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