Personal style and behaviour; have you got it right?
You don’t get a second chance to create a first impression
First impressions count, make sure your first one is a good one!
When you’re meeting a client for the first time, you make every effort to present yourself well. You research them and their company. You develop your knowledge to make sure they can give you a professional thumbs up. Does that level of preparation translate into every future business meeting you have with them or their team members?
Do you take the same level of care for all of your networking meetings, 1:1 meetings, or coffee catch ups with more familiar business associates? If you answered ‘Yes’, then well done, you’re consistent in your approach to your own personal branding, and more importantly, are aware that you’re continually being assessed for how you present yourself.
Think about your appearance
When attending networking meetings do you think about your appearance ahead of time, do you carefully select an appropriate outfit or throw on something last minute? Do you take time and care with your make up, hair, and nails? Do you re-varnish your nails if they’re looking chipped and shabby?
Are you aware of your behaviour? Do you fidget in meetings, look at your phone (attempting discretion), text or email under the table during a meeting (lacking discretion)? Do you doodle on a piece of paper or stare into space when listening to others speak? You may well be listening to a certain extent but you could appear bored or downright rude!
Personally, I feel there’s always a level of etiquette that should be followed at all times in business. Perhaps I’m ‘old school’ but it matters to me and I assess others on my own set of criteria, as I am sure you do too!
Be aware of how you may be perceived by others during meetings. Always be authentic. Be mindful too. Behaviour lacking respect, sensitivity, or consistency may lead people to question your professionalism; it’s hard to regain a person’s trust once questioned or lost.
I’ve met so many business women (in fact thousands) and I’ve seen it all, unkempt clothes, dirty hair, scraped off nail polish, texting at the table, whispering and laughing during meetings, the lot! Guess what, all of these women have given the wrong impression of themselves. Unfortunately that impression will stay with people for a long time, maybe forever. People may decide they can’t do business with them, so perception has a practical and long term impact.
Here are my 5 tips to keep you on top business form:
- Plan your outfit the night before. Ladies, always make sure you have a clean pair of ‘ladder free’ tights.
- Dress how you would if you’re meeting a new client for the first time, for each meeting. What do jeans and trainers say about you?
- Self monitor your behaviour at meetings and be present in the ‘here and now’. Avoid daydreaming out the window, answering your phone, emailing, or texting.
- Be selfless; when you’re with other people, put them first. Nobody likes to be around selfish, high maintenance or demanding people.
- Bring your whole self to work. Whether you’re naturally funny, kind, caring or colourful, let it shine through.
Be the person that’s remembered for all of the right reasons. Make a brilliant and long lasting impression, become a person who’s admired and inspiring to others, long after they met you!
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