Learn the Art of First Impression!

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First Impression

There are many corporate events and other business segments where leadership programs are offered. The corporate training programs are alongside offered to the participants. But, there are certain etiquette and first impression(s) which count. Let us now see how to inculcate these first impressions.

Introduction

Well done! You have identified the right direction by choosing the precise career that will give you success. Now through this unit you will be able to develop a personality that will help you prosper in your career at a much faster speed.

Let me share Rahul’s story that had clear direction, single minded focus but lacked power in his personality.

Rahul is an aspiring actor. He has passion for acting and wants to become famous in Bollywood. He comes from a small town in central India and has diction issues. Besides that he lacks style, thus failing to create an impactful impression. 

It is important for us to behave well all the time. As students, we didn’t care about that too much but as professionals, we represent the company that we work for and become the face of that organization.

It takes about three seconds for us to walk from the entrance of a door to a person to shake hands. In those three seconds, the person has already formed an opinion about us. That impression is created because of numerous signals sent by you to the other person.This kind of corporate behaviour can be learnt as a part of corporate training.

Fundamentals Of First Impression

Let’s go through some very basic fundamentals that make impressions good.

  • Moment of Truth
  • Perception vs. Reality

Moment Of Truth

“Anytime a customer comes into contact with any aspect of a business, however remote, is an opportunity to form an impression”.

Jan Carlzon

In every human interaction, there are moments of truth. A moment of truth is any episode or opportunity where a person comes in contact with you wherein he can form an impression about you. To focus and manage that moment of truth, you can use a simple five-step process:

  • Identify and prioritize each episode or contact: This means focusing on every interaction you have with anybody through different channels of communication like email, telephone, face-to-face, through other systems and processes.
  • Create substitute responses: Formulate polite responses and practice using positive words more often in your speech.
  • Decide which responses will delight the other person: Choose the response that will most likely pleasantly surprise the other person and thereby not just meet, but exceed their expectations.
  • Leave a mark by ensuring high standards of interaction: Moments of magic happen when the standards of interaction are set high. The interaction becomes more fruitful, if those standards are met in every single interaction that you have with another person.
  • Measure satisfaction in every interaction: Keep checking how your responses or your style of interaction is received by the people around you. If people respond positively to your way of interaction then you are going in the right direction.
  • Reflect on how successful people think and interact with others: Observing successful people will give you an insight not only how successful people act, but more importantly how they feel. There was a CEO of a successful BPO. He used to take his cabbies home to feed them food. Would he or would he not be popular?

Real vs. Perceived

Workers thoughts about their workload and the time they have to complete their assigned tasks may differ greatly from what managers or other co-workers think of their workloads.

You receive a mail from a friend at 1 a.m. on Friday asking you to go for a movie tomorrow. You respond your affirmation and wait at the cinemas for the afternoon show. No one turns up and you call your friend. He tells you that the mail was sent at 1, therefore “tomorrow” means “Saturday”.

So, his reality is different from your reality and it is imperative to communicate with clarity to avoid inconvenience for both the sender and the receiver.

Effective leaders/managers need to make their employees feel that their ideas, opinions and suggestions are valued. The perception of feeling rushed or stressed can be reduced by communicating with them clearly, delegating work and making them feel valued.

Perception is 90% of the battle in a work context. The reality is the exact opposite and making simple alterations can deliver real tangible benefits. Wrong perception is the biggest bottleneck in rational thinking. We generally assume that our perception about events is similar to what is actually happening. However people try to filter out as much information as they take in. Or, as one writer put it, “It’s not so much that we believe what we see, but that we see what we already believe.”

“The Perception Model”

Same Situation – – – – – – – – – – – – – Different Perspectives

The way I see it…                         The way you see it…

The way I hear it…                       The way you hear it…

The way I experience it…             The way you experience it…

Having understood the basics of how to make a good first impression. Let us work on making an excellent first impression by learning how to greet others and practicing the art of introductions.

Greetings And Introductions

Having good manners extends further than just knowing how to act at a societal get-together. In the industry, it means meeting and greeting colleagues, networking, handling criticism, attire, communication and endless other skills.

Master The Art Of Self-Introduction

In order to introduce yourself appropriately all you have to do is stroll up casually to someone and say “Hi”, preferably with a smile, and then give your name. This is a simple move which does not require a bold or daring attitude. In fact, it’s one of the best conversation starters in the world – it breaks the ice and leads to exchange of words.

Phrases you can use to introduce yourself to others:

  • Opening line
  • How are you?
  • How is everything?
  • How’s everything?
  • How have you been?
  • When you meet someone for the first time
  • Nice to meet you
  • Good to meet you.
  • It’s a pleasure to have finally met you.
  • Glad to meet you.
  • After someone has introduced you to someone else
  • Karan has told me all about you.
  • Neha has told me so much about you.
  • I’ve heard so much about you.
  • So we finally meet face-to-face.

After having understood how to introduce ourselves, let us now explore the ways of introducing others.

Introducing Others

Introductions are an important routine in corporate life. They help you create a professional impression if handled appropriately. The good news is you can learn and practice introductions and make a remarkable impact on people. The following are some dos and don’ts of making introductions:

  • Always show respect towards senior people like customers, senior managers, guests and high-ranking dignitaries by stating their names first. For example, “Mr. Das (senior executive), I would like to introduce Mr. Swami (junior executive).”
  • If there are two people of the same age and rank, but one is a lady and another a gentleman, mention the name of the lady first.
  • Address a person by his or her first name only if the person has permitted you to do so- “Please call me Shilpa.” There are, of course, certain informal settings where first names would be appropriate.
  • If somebody forgets your name, be quick in reminding them your name rather than causing them embarrassment.
  • It is polite to stand up when somebody is introducing you. When meeting someone for the first time, it is always better to indulge in a firm handshake and then exchange a greeting.
  • Repeat a person’s name in order to remember it but try not to overdo it else it may sound awkward- “How do you do, Mr. Dravid?” and practice saying the name several times during the conversation.
  • Give some background. Include in the introduction enough information to allow the parties to have a short conversation. Providing a conversational opening is especially important if you are in a group setting and cannot devote your full attention to keeping the new acquaintances talking.
  • Get the names right. If you are unsure about the pronunciation of the names of the parties being introduced, find out the correct pronunciation before bringing the people together. If you begin an introduction but forget one person’s name, quickly and briefly apologize and wait for that person to volunteer the forgotten name. Once an introduction has begun, it should proceed until all names are exchanged, despite any memory lapses from the introducer.
  • Introduce yourself. When you have an opportunity to meet a new colleague but there is no one to make a formal introduction, you can introduce yourself. Simply extend your hand, make eye contact, and politely state your name and some identifying information, such as your department or company: “Hello, I am Vivek, from Global Academy for Corporate Training.” , Mrs., Ms., Dr. are honorific. People use these to show respect towards you but you don’t give an honorific to yourself.

Phrases you can use to introduce others:

  • Opening line
  • Good morning.
  • Hi/ Hello
  • How are you?
  • How’s it going?
  • How’s it been?
  • How is everything?
  • How’s everything?
  • How have you been?
  • Introducing someone to someone else
  • I’d like you to meet my friend Megha.
  • This is my friend Megha.
  • Amit, this is Megha. Megha, this is Amit.
  • Megha, have you met Amit?

There is another important element involved in introductions. This important element is the exchange of business cards. The way you exchange business cards talks a lot about your personality. Let us understand the etiquette of exchanging business cards.

Business Cards

When I was in school I got business cards printed in my name that looked something like this…

Now, believe me, this gave me such a big advantage and people remembered me as the “student who exchanged business cards”.

UNIVERSITY NAME

Vivek Bindra

MBA Student (Year)

“The best way out of a situation is through it.”

 

University Address:

Phone Number:                                                      Email:

exchanged business cards”.

Business cards do not demand a huge investment but reap great benefits. So do not wait anymore and design one for yourself.

UNIVERSITY NAME

Your Name

Course (Batch of Year)

“Tagline that describes ‘YOU’”

 

University Address:

Your Phone Number:                                            Your Email:

It is important to organize business cards appropriately for effective contact management.

  • Be prepared: Always carry a handful of business cards with you to give out to business associates or potential clients, even on the weekends. This is essential as lot of important business card exchanges take place in the most unusual and unlikely places. Make sure that the cards are crisp and clean with no bent edges or marks.
  • Remember to hand out business cards: Informal meetings are a good time to exchange business cards. Offer your business card to a person who shows any interest in the product or service you represent.
  • Exchange business cards with grace: If the person you meet is of a higher position than you are; wait for them to offer their card to you first. Remember, if they want you to have a card, they will give it to you!
  • Receive a business card with respect: When accepting a business card; take a good look at it for a few seconds and then keep it carefully in your notebook. It is a good idea to invest in a visiting card case/holder. It will save you the embarrassment of fumbling in an attempt to put the card in your wallet.

Note: You should offer you business card with both hands and also accept business card from both hands (as shown in figure alongside). Have a look at the business card for few seconds before putting inside your pocket. This show that you value and respect a person offering the business card

Learn the art of ‘Hand Shake’

Handshakes are the only appropriate form of physical contact in the business world. They set the tone for the entire relationship that follows. So take time to practice your handshake skills until you know you can perform them well. The following are different types of handshakes:

  • Knuckle Cruncher: This type of handshake may indicate that the person is earnest but nervous. If you are trying to express warmth by holding the other person hand through a tight grip of your hand, you only give pain to the other person. It will form an impression that you lack sensitivity.
  • Dead Fish Handshake: This is the kind of person who renders a lifeless hand to the other person. This type of handshake gives a negative impression making others feel that this person lacks conviction and enthusiasm, and is lifeless.
  • Pumper: This type of handshake is over reactive and insecure too. This type of person keeps on pumping your hand up and down. This may be for the reason that the person is unaware about what is to be done next.  This type of handshake doesn’t give you any pain but you certainly feel foolish.
  • Sanitary Handshake: In this type of hand shake the person will barely offer you maximum three or four fingers and withdraw them quickl This type of handshake gives a feeling of getting acquainted to a serious disease..
  • Condolence Handshake: This type of handshake comes from a person who appears to be too familiar; the person clasps your right hand, and tries to hug This kind of gesture can be appreciated at a funeral, but i otherwise it seems inappropriate.
  • Proper Handshake: This is the most appropriate form of handshake. In this type of handshake you offer your entire hand, until “web meets web”. Hold the person’s hand firmly, shake gently for 3-4 seconds and then release, and make sure that you do not pump the other person’s hand. Make eye contact and add a smile while shaking hands. Be ready to offer your full name, even if you’ve met before. Do it with confidence! Make sure your handshake is firm but not too strong.

Just follow the simple four steps to learn the art of proper handshake:

  • Walk straight to the person you would like to meet.
  • Make an eye contact, smile, and offer your hand.
  • Give a warm, gentle, and palm-to-palm handshake.

You should rise to shake hands irrespective of the gender you belong to.

Grooming

The first step in creating a positive first impression is to groom yourself appropriately. Grooming entails not just the clothes you wear but also how you handle your body. Grooming encompasses all aspects of a person’s physical appearance as well as the way they present themselves. In other words, it is not just the way you dress or look but also the way you conduct yourself in front of others and how you carry yourself in public.

Positive Body Language

Use the following tips to maintain positive body language:

  • Eye contact: Eye contact indicates that you are interested in what the other person is saying to you. Failing to make eye contact gives the impression that the other person is of no importance. However, take care that you do not end up staring at the person. In order to avoid coming across as aggressive, maintain eye contact about 60% of the time.
  • Facial expression/Mouth: A smile sends a positive message and creates a feel good factor. It is appropriate in all but a life and death situation. A smiling face appears warm and approachable. It results in others becoming more receptive to you. Pursing, biting or twisting your lips may indicate that you are either thinking about what you are hearing or that you are holding something back.
  • Hands/Arm: Your arm placement suggests how receptive you are. Crossing or folding your arms over your chest indicates that you are not interested in the other person or what he/she is saying. It may also indicate that you have shut the other person out. Waving your hands may indicate enthusiasm to some people and uncertainty/immaturity to others. Regardless of what you are feeling, these are the messages that are conveyed to the person. It is extremely important to pay attention to where and how you place your hands. Keep your hands out of your pockets and resist the urge to put them behind your back or under the table. It is unprofessional to fidget with your hair, rub your face or play with your ear. The most appropriate place for your hands is by your side.
  • Legs: Constantly shaking your legs indicates nervousness. Crossing your legs by resting one ankle on the other knee can make you look arrogant. The best and most accepted position is to keep your feet flat on the floor or to cross the legs at the ankles.
  • Body angle/Body posture: The angle of your body gives an indication to others about what is going on in your mind. When you lean forward you show your interest in the person or what he/she is saying. When you lean away you indicate that you have heard enough. Another way to affirm that you are listening is to nod your head occasionally. When you sit or stand erect you indicate to the other person that you are alert and enthusiastic. However, slumping in your chair or leaning against the wall will make you look tired.

Proximity: It is important to give people space, both emotionally and physically. If you stand too close to someone you may be branded as being pushy. On the flip side, maintaining too much of a distance while speaking to someone may make you come across as aloof, unfriendly or distant. It is best to keep an arm’s distance while speaking to another person.

How To Dress For Success

Kavita and her friend Sumita work in the same automobile showroom. They are allowed to wear casuals on Friday. Now Kavita wore denim trousers and a semi-formal shirt with it but Sumita wore dungarees with tees. A customer looking for three SUVs walked straight up to Kavita.

Can you guess why?

Just because of how she was dressed, Kavita looked more professional than her colleagues.

Dressing appropriately for the office is an important aspect of entering the workforce. Even if your office has a program such as “casual Fridays,” there is still a limit to how much you dress down. Casual attire in the workplace doesnot mean Bermuda shorts and flip flops. Even when dressing up isnot required, a little extra effort to look professional can go a long way in the office.

Grooming Guidelines

Male Staff

Hair

  • Should always be in good condition and combed properly.
  • Your length of hair should be above the shirt collar.
  • Sideburns should be trimmed short (around mid ear).
  • Hair must be cut regularly.

Moustache/Beard

  • Must be neat and well trimmed. A clean look is essential.
  • Outline of top lip must be visible.
  • Beard must look neat and should be well groomed.

Hands/Feet

  • Hands must be clean with no stains
  • Make sure that your nails are short and clean (both finger and toenail).

Accessories

  • No earrings
  • Bracelets should be avoided
  • No sunglasses inside the office or houses
  • Wear decent watches

Dress Code

  • Clothes must be clean and well ironed.
  • Trousers must be worn with a belt.
  • Shirt must be buttoned fully. Sleeves should not be rolled up.
  • Colour of belt and shoes should be the same.
  • Shoes must be well polished and clean at all times and kept in a good state of repair.
  • Wear dark colour socks without any holes in it. Elastic should not be loose.
  • A clean handkerchief should be carried.

Female Staff

Hair

  • If you have long hair, ensure it is tied back neatly. If you have short hair it should not fall on your face.
  • Avoid use of strong perfumes.
  • Always keep your hair in place. If you have returned from outside, the hair tends to get windblown and looks very untidy and unprofessional if it is not fixed.

Make up

  • Wear minimum make up.

Hands/Feet

  • Hands and feet must be clean.
  • Nails should be of uniform length, filed and kept clean.
  • Make sure that the nail polish is not chipped.

Accessories

  • Avoid long or dangling earrings.
  • Sunglasses must not be worn inside the office.
  • Avoid use of too many bangles/bracelets.

For Everyone

Personal Freshness

 Personal freshness must be maintained at all times by using suitable deodorants or talcum powder.

  • Do not use very strong perfumes.
  • Make sure you brush your teeth, gargle and use a breath freshener whenever you can, especially on long hours of duty.

Posture

  • A good posture gives a better look to your dress.
  • Shoulders should be stretched back and kept straight at all times.
  • Looking good is feeling good which in turn leads to better performance.

So getting acquainted with the discussions of this article will help you in casting an excellent first impression when you will open the doors of the corporate world. But along with all the grooming, dressing and other intricacies discussed in this article you will also need to have an excellent communication skills for progressing in your professional career. What all is required to enhance your communication is the subject matter of our upcoming articles in this section.

To keep yourself motivated like our Facebook Page Daily Motivation by Dr. Vivek Bindra and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more Inspirational videos.

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