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Home » Networking

First Impressions: Blunders to Avoid When Networking

Submitted by on May 25, 2016 – 9:55 amNo Comment
Woman in business suit holding out her hand to shake

You only get one first impression, so make it count.

Successfully networking is an important part of building your business through relationships. When meeting a potential new client you only get one chance to make a first impression, so it is important to make it a good one. Some people underestimate the power of first impressions and start their interactions on a bad foot which could have been avoided.

Here are 4 ways to make bad first impressions:

1. Arriving Late: Are you the type of person who shows up right as things start? This can stem from trying to fit in one last task before you head out, or maybe you just underestimate how long it will take you to arrive. There are many reasons and excuses for being late, but when making first impressions, lateness can leave a sour taste in someone’s mouth. The person you’ve kept waiting will likely be annoyed, but they might also see your action as bad time management. Even worse, they might get the impression you don’t care about their time.

2. Not Preparing: If you meet up with someone unprepared, there are three impressions you will leave:

1) You don’t think the person is important enough to prepare beforehand.
2) You’re lazy or don’t care.
3) You can’t manage your time well.

None of these impressions would be good to leave, especially when trying to network to build your company. Coming in unprepared will also leave you feeling less confident in yourself, which will also affect your networking efforts.

3. Not Being Present: Smart phones have been a great tool for busy business owners always on the go. When it comes to first impressions and networking, avoid checking your email, Facebook and Twitter while you are meeting with someone. Giving into the urge can make the possible business connection feel like they are not worth your full attention.

4. Ignoring Your Appearance: How you look and what you wear sends different messages to the person you are meeting. Your close friends may not care that you have coffee breath and are wearing unprofessional clothing, but someone you just meet may not be as understanding. Looking professional will help others take you seriously, especially when meeting for the first time, so be sure you look the part of a successful business owner.

When it comes to networking and meeting someone new, remember, you will never get a second chance to introduce yourself to them again. That first impression can make or break a new business relationship, so it is important to show up on time, come prepared, be present and look the part.

Written by Erika Taylor Montgomery
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