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Victoria Munro and Dave Block of Make-it-FlyHow to Make a Fabulous First Impression
By Dave Block and Victoria Munro

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You get only one chance to make a fabulous first impression! Business is built on relationships, and typically those first few seconds of an initial encounter will determine the direction that relationship could take. The key to making a great first impression is ensuring that the other person feels important, allowing him or her to bask in the spotlight.

Studies have repeatedly shown that whenever we encounter someone for the first time, one of two possible tapes begins to play in our minds: a positive or a negative one. If the positive tape starts to play, any subsequent impressions or actions that are negative will likely be dismissed as unimportant. Conversely, if the negative tape plays, any positive information received will similarly be dismissed.

Most of these responses and reactions are processed on a subconscious level. Making a spectacular first impression is a skill that can be developed. Use the Seven Simple Steps below to help you succeed:

Step One: Eye Contact – The windows to your soul reveal the truth about your sincerity. Maintain good eye contact. Failure to look directly at the person can convey a lack of self-confidence.

Networking No-No: Never look around the room at others before you’ve established rapport with the person in front of you. Doing so communicates the message, “I’m really more interested in those people across the room than in you.”

Step Two: Shaking HandsThe way we hold another’s hand will convey presence and enthusiasm or send a negative message. A firm handshake, with your thumb notches contacting each other, will earn you positive points. Maintain the contact for at least two seconds.

Step Three: Facial ExpressionAlways display a warm, sincere smile. The slower you smile, the more sincerity you communicate – showing that you’re developing a true appreciation of him or her. Consciously thinking a positive, affirming thought about the person will automatically produce a natural smile. It will also generate the right tone in your voice.

Step Four: Name Recall Everyone’s favorite word is his or her name!
Remember and use a person’s name. This lets them know that they’re important to us and, of course, our number-one objective is to make them feel special. Mastering name recall is a matter of motivation, technique and practice. Click here to check out some easy techniques.

Step Five: Body PostureEnergy is key! One of the best ways to energize yourself is to dwell on a positive thought about the person in front of you. “What a warm smile!” Or, “I really enjoy his enthusiasm!”

Stand straight, with shoulders back and chin high, leaning forward very slightly when talking. Keep your body “open” at a slight angle, rather that directly face to face, thus giving them more “personal space” and allowing a greater level of comfort.

Step Six: That Initial QuestionSet the tone for the conversation. Begin the dialogue by asking a question about the person himself or herself that reflects sincere interest, and makes the person feel important. You may find you can help them in some way. Even if your newfound friend isn’t a potential client, as you get to know each other, you may discover that he or she is acquainted with several likely candidates for your service or product and would be delighted to recommend you to them.

Step Seven: The ConversationHonor the person and make them feel special by expressing genuine admiration. Compliment them in a sincere way. For example, “What a great outfit! Are you an image consultant?” “You have a wonderful spirit about you. Are you a life coach?”

Look at the person speaking and nod often. Chime in with the occasional "I see," or "I understand," indicating that you are listening carefully. Pay close attention to the conversation; those little details may be useful in the near future.

Networking No-No: Never interrupt. This clearly informs your new friend that you are not focused on what he or she has to say but have simply been waiting for an opportunity to speak yourself.

We've all met people whom we instantly like and want to get to know more or do business with. These people are usually following the steps above to make a strong initial impression in those all-important first 30 seconds—and you can do the same. Making a great first impression is an essential aspect of successful networking. It’s a skill that, with the right motivation, a little effort and some practice, anyone can perfect and profit from.

(746 words)
© 2005-2007 Victoria Munro.

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About the Authors: Dave Block and Victoria Munro are co-founders of Make-it-Fly® LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for small business owners through creatively-designed programs and tools. Dave is known as the “Master Networker” in the business community and loves sharing how to become a successful business owner by learning the art of networking. Victoria has started and run nine different businesses.. To receive FREE business success articles with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,” at:, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.

You’re welcome to “reprint” this article in your ezine, print publication or on your website, as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the “about the author” info at the end). Please send a copy of your reprint to

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