First impressions count. Studies have shown that people will typically judge the person they are meeting within just a few seconds, and that once someone has formed an opinion, it is very difficult to change it, particularly in a business setting. Most people think about body language and appearances when trying to make a good first impression, but in the modern communication world, chances are you have already met the person via email or telephone well before you sit down with them face to face.
Read on to find out how you can make a positive first impression in your business correspondence. To keep up to date with more tips and business improvement advice, bookmark the HBA website.
Make Your Point and Intentions Clear
When introducing yourself via email, a letter or telephone call, it is essential that the other person knows what you are trying to achieve by reaching out to them – particularly if you are trying to secure more of their time for a face to face meeting. Build rapport first, and make sure they know not only what you are hoping to accomplish but also why they should be involved before you hit send or put the phone down.
Appearances Still Matter
While the other person may not be able to see you in the initial contact, they can see things like your company branding on emails and letterhead, and make assumptions on how you speak and interact with them. Check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation in written correspondence. If you are calling the person, make sure you are doing so from somewhere without a lot of background noise and where you can give the call your full attention. Smile when you speak – it makes a difference to the tone of your voice.
Make It Personal and Customised
If you are trying to make a good first impression, particularly via email, make sure that the other person doesn’t feel as though you’re sending them a canned piece of communication. While scripts, templates or copying and pasting can save time, you should use them sparingly and make sure you still make an effort to personalise a few points beyond the person’s name and company, and try to remove any really generic statements that may come across as insincere.
Do Some Research
This might be the last point on the list but that doesn’t mean it’s the least important. Taking the time to just have a look at the other person’s company or personal website, or read up on their latest news can be invaluable. You don’t necessarily have to use all the information you find out in that initial contact, but it can help you prepare your approach and strategy.
When making the first contact with a company or person you hope to collaborate or do business with, possibly the most important thing to keep in mind is what you like and don’t like when the situation is reversed. Consider what makes you open or respond to an email, return a phone call and give that person your undivided attention and try to apply the same principles and practices to your own contact attempts.
How do you make sure you put your best foot forward when making business connections?