HR & Management

Boosting business success through the art of first impressions

5 min read

28 December 2017

There's far more to first impressions than we'd like to think, with people basing us on our use of words, projected confidence and even teeth. Given its help in producing business success, it's a topic worth stressing over.

SME bosses have continued to demonstrate their resilience, not to mention business success, in the face of economic adversity. But the future is still uncertain, and it is important for small companies continue this winning streak. Here are some tips from experts throughout the UK on how to ensure business success by producing stellar first impressions.

The perfect presentation

We all know how important first impressions are, and in the business world, many of these impressions take place in the form of presentations. The most talented and driven business person can find their progress derailed by a sub-par presentation, so perfecting these skills is important.

Simon de Cintra is a presentation coach and author of Unlock Your Business Voice: How to Sound as Great as You Think, and he offers his tips on getting ready to give a winning presentation. “The most effective way to combat public speaking anxiety is to prepare, prepare, prepare.

“Getting used to the space where you will be conducting your presentation will help keep nerves at bay. This can be achieved by getting to your venue early, finding key distinct places in the room, and at each take a deep diaphragmatic breath, breathing in and out slowly.

“This method will help refuel your voice and slow your heart rate, helping you come across credibly to potential investors and clients.”

Dress to impress

Just as crucial to first impressions is personal appearance, and if you do not give off the right visual impression, you are likely to have lost your audience within seconds. Looking the part is vital, and if you don’t look like a professional, your target audience will soon be running into the arms of your competitors.

Businesswoman Michaela Jedinak, a fashion designer and personal stylist, emphasises the importance of knowing what styles suit you and give off the right impression. “I believe everyone is different and they should build on their own unique DNA rather than try to be a bad copy of someone else. There is the perfect outfit for everyone, it just isn’t the same one.”

She advises that the right outfit will make you feel confident and empowered, which will make any presentation you give that much more natural and engaging.

Craft your words

Many underestimate the importance of words in first impressions, but they can make a big difference when trying to influence others. Everybody attaches connotations to words and phrases, which create pictures in the individual’s mind and have an impact on their feelings and emotions.

Regardless of your audience, speaking with clarity is essential. Karen Meager and John McLachlan are the co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training and NLP experts, and had this to say: “‘Transparency’ is a common example of a word that has good intentions by suggesting openness, honesty and integrity.

“However, the majority of the time, people actually want to refer to the term ‘clarity’ – it is not always a positive thing to be completely open and honest with those around you in the workplace, as there is always something that others should not know.”

Hone your confidence

Appearances count for a lot in first impressions, and this – much to the agitation of some – extends beyond the outfit you put on.

The truth is, business professionals gauge a lot about a person from their overall appearance, and putting obvious effort into personal appearance shows audiences that the person acknowledges the impression they give, and are trying hard to make it as positive as possible.

Specialist orthodontist, entrepreneur and head of Elleven Dental, Anthony Lam, explains: “Well-maintained clothes, clean hair and nails are easily achieved, but making sure your teeth look the part can take a little more effort.

“If you suffer from unsightly teeth, it can be well worth making a trip to your dentist to see what improvements can be made. This may include a whitening solution, implants, or braces to to realign protruding or crooked teeth, which may seem like big steps but a healthier-looking smile can drastically improve first opinions of you, as well as improving your confidence overall.”