GET WHAT YOU WANT IN SEVEN SECONDS BY MAKING A GREAT IMPRESSION

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Whether you are going on a job interview or meeting with a client, your first impression can literally make or break the deal. It usually takes an average of just seven seconds for a person to make a judgment about you based on your initial meeting. If yours is not a good impression, chances are you won't get the job or seal the deal. But if you make a great first impression you can bet that people are going to take you seriously, whether it's a potential client, boss or other business contact.

You do not have time to waste so it pays for you to understand how people make their first judgment and what you can do to be in control of the results. Here are some practical tips on making a lasting first impression.

LEARN WHAT PEOPLE USE TO FORM THEIR FIRST OPINION.

When you meet someone face-to-face, 93% of how you are judged is based on non-verbal data---your appearance and your body language. Only 7% is influenced by the words that you speak. Whoever said that you can?t judge a book by its cover failed to note that people do. When your initial encounter is over the phone, 70% of how you are perceived is based on your tone of voice and 30% on your words. Clearly, it?s not what you say--- it?s the way that you say it.

CHOOSE YOUR FIRST FEW WORDS CAREFULLY.

Although research shows that your words make up a mere 7% of what people think of you in a one-on-one encounter, don?t leave them to chance. Express some form of thank you when you meet the potential boss, client or contact. Perhaps, it is ?Thank you for taking your time to see me today? or ?Thank you for joining me for lunch.? People will appreciate you more when you appreciate them.

USE THE OTHER PERSON'S NAME IMMEDIATELY.

There is no sweeter sound than that of our own name. When you use the other person?s name in conversation within your first few words and the first seven seconds, you are sending a message that you value that person and are focused on him or her. Nothing gets other people?s attention as effectively as calling them by name.

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HAIR.

Everyone else will. In fact, people will notice your hair and face first. Putting off that much-needed haircut or color job may cost you the job or promotion. Very few people want to be connected with someone who is untidy or unkempt. Don?t let a bad hair day cost you the connection.

CHOOSE YOUR SHOES WISELY.

People will look from your face to your feet. If your shoes aren?t well maintained, some people will question whether you pay attention to other details, especially in a business setting. Shoes should be polished and well-kept in addition to being appropriate for the business environment. Also pick shoes that are right for the event you are going to, whether it?s a client meeting or job interview. They may the last thing you put on before you walk out the door, but shoes are often the first thing other people see.

WALK FAST.

Studies show that people who walk 10-20% faster than others are viewed as important and energetic---just the kind of impression you would like to make on others. Pick up the pace and walk with purpose if you want to impress. You never know who may be watching.

FINE TUNE YOUR HANDSHAKE.

The first move you make when meeting someone of importance is to put out your hand. You will be assured of giving an impressive grip and getting off to a good start if you position your hand to make complete contact with the other person?s hand. Once your palm has connected with the other palm, close your thumb over the back of the other person?s hand and give a slight squeeze. This is especially important to remember in a business setting.

NEVER GO WITHOUT YOUR BUSINESS CARDS.

Your business cards and how you handle them contribute to your total image. Have a good supply of them with you at all times since you never know when and where you will encounter a potential client, employer or boss. How unimpressive is it to ask for a person?s card and have them say, ? Oh, I?m sorry. I think I just gave my last one away.? You get the feeling that this person has already met everyone he wants to know. Keep your cards in a card case or holder where they are protected from wear and tear. That way you will be able to find them without a lot of fumbling around, and they will always be in pristine condition.

MATCH YOUR BODY LANGUAGE TO YOUR VERBAL MESSAGE.

A smile or pleasant _expression tells the other person that you are glad to be with them. Eye contact says you are paying attention and are interested in what is being said. Leaning in toward the client makes you appear engaged and involved in the conversation. Use as many signals as you can to look interested and interesting.

In the business environment, you plan your every move with potential clients. You arrange for the appointment, you prepare for the meeting, you rehearse for the presentation, but in spite of your best efforts to anticipate opportunity, potential clients pop up in the most unexpected places and at the most bizarre times. For that reason, leave nothing to chance. Every time you walk out of your office, be ready to make a powerful first impression.

In any situation you can get one step closer to getting what you want by making the right first impression in the first seven seconds. Use the techniques you've learned to your advantage and get what you are going after.

About the Author:

Lydia Ramsey is an expert on helping others achieve professional and personal success by adopting business manners and etiquette. She is the author of the widely-acclaimed book ?Manners that Sell.? Lydia has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan because of her dynamic seminars. Lydia is available for seminars and speeches at: www.mannersthatsell.com.

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