First Impressions In Business: The Do’s And Don’ts

Let’s face it, creating a good impression in business is essential for making lasting relationships. Everybody knows how important a first impression can be, but are we doing everything we could be?


Let’s say you’ve just landed yourself a sales negotiation or a job interview. Congratulations! You’re one step closer to your goals. But wait. How should you interact with the people you’re doing business with when you meet?

How about smiling? If they’re a normal person, smiling will be reciprocated. It will make them feel good about you. And it will make you feel more relaxed and good about them.

If you don’t get a smile back see it as an opportunity to work out whether this is somebody that you want to do business with. Beware, problem customers and employers that can make your life a misery.

So then, what shouldn’t you do? I think it’s always a bad idea to talk disparagingly about your job, employees or workplace when trying to do business with somebody else. Even if you’re just in the lift with the receptionist, be careful what you say. He or she will report back to management and tell them what you really think. Awkward!

Also, it’s not a good idea to be overly familiar with the people you’re meeting for the first time. If they don’t know you and they’re not part of your circle, don’t pretend they are. It will make them feel awkward and wonder why you don’t have the social skills to recognise who is, and is not, a casual friend.


How should the ideal business person present themselves? Well, one of the first things they need to do is create a professional impression. Little touches like having a bespoke business badge from somewhere like Imagine Products can do the trick. It gives the impression that you’re from a well grounded, firmly established business.

Also, make sure that you’re appropriately dressed for the type of business you’re engaged in and don’t smell of cigarette smoke. This can really be off putting.

Of course, I know you’d never consider wearing loud clothing to project your personality. And I know you would never try to seduce your client with an overwhelming quantity of perfume. Try to resist the urge if you can.

Body Language

This has to be one of the most discussed topics in the whole of creating a good first impression, and I don’t think anybody really has a good grasp of it.

What works can be something of a mystery, but one suggestion is that it’s a good idea to mirror your client. If you can match their tone and their mood, then that will create a sense rapport that’s more likely to lead to trust.

What you want to avoid is anything that indicates disinterest. Things like slouching and huffing are obvious examples. But it goes further than simply being engaged in what’s going on.

Being relaxed, especially when conducting sales negotiations is very important. A relaxed person appears more confident, perhaps because they have less to hide. They also inspire confidence in the other person that a product or service can, in fact, be delivered on time and to a high standard.

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