Monthly Archives: August 2010

You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Meeting

What’s true for impressions is true for meetings! If you’re a super busy professional, you’re keenly aware of 1st impressions when you’re meeting with someone new. You know that it is important to come off as energetic, strong, confident, and really put your best foot forward.

Hopefully you won’t come off as tired, weak, sloppy, or even disinterested to the new person you’re meeting, because that person standing or sitting in front of you could easily be:

  • a potential customer or client
  • a strong referral
  • a possible partner
  • a future “raving fan”

As a CEO Catalyst / Executive & Life Coach, I have the opportunity to meet with all sorts of wonderful and fascinating people — and I know that every meeting counts! Whether you meet a person in a networking event, through a professional site (such as LinkedIn), a special event you hosted, or because of a referral, each new contact holds untold potential for you personally and professionally.

And with regards to this opportunity, people who are better prepared typically win over the less prepared! You might have all the proper attire on, have all the right words to say, and even have a snazzy business card – but one overlooked issue can turn the overall impression sour – fast.

Maybe you didn’t have all your facts straight about them or their company. It’s possible you left your sales collateral at the office, or maybe even called them by the wrong name. Sometimes the attention of you or the other person speaking takes a backseat to all the busyness going on in a crowded and noisy location. If the meeting place itself is an unfamiliar location to you and causes you to be late – that can be a distraction to the person you’re meeting with, or worse yet, seen as a sign of being disrespectful to their time.

I remember a time I was late to a one-on-one meeting because I couldn’t find that little coffee shop tucked away in that unfamiliar strip mall. I arrived apologetic; the meeting started off on an awkward foot; and I had to compensate to regain the good first impression I was trying to make.

Sadly, many business professionals don’t give a second thought to the destination for their meetings. Somehow, they’ve accepted that it’s respectful of both parties to duck into the nearest Starbucks, yell over the screeching espresso machine, talk through the crunching of the ice blender, and look past the screaming children and constant distractions of people walking past.

I’ll bet many of you can remember meetings in the past where this has been exactly the situation – and you probably don’t remember the conversation, but you remember the screeching of the espresso machine.

The environment in which you hold your meetings is all part of the overall impression you leave with the other person after the meeting ends. Taking careful attention to all the details of a one-on-one (or group) meeting, and having it in a distracting, noisy and unprofessional setting, is like dressing for success in an expensive, finely pressed 3-piece suit, but wearing flip flops instead of dress shoes. It kind of kills the whole overall impression, no matter how attune you were to all the other details.

Keep that in mind the next time you’re looking to sit with a new contact who might be a prospect, potential referral partner or someone coming into your network.

Instead, choose a location that meets these criteria:

  1. spacious enough for your needs
  2. some amount of privacy
  3. a heightened level of professionalism
  4. easy to locate
  5. minimal distractions
  6. accessible to the internet for presentation needs
  7. and quiet – for undivided attention

Just like you wouldn’t show up in a $3,000.00 suit with flip flops, don’t spoil your first impression by carelessly choosing a location that distracts (and detracts) from the short amount of time you have with this individual. Be respectful of them, and yourself!

You want to impress upon that person (or group) as many favorable feelings, thoughts and emotions about the “good first meeting” you had. Most often, this will make or break a decision about whether they want to continue to get to know you, give you their business, or go meet with your competition!

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Personal Plug: I joined the City Club of Buckhead (www.cityclubofbuckhead.com) because I wanted to make sure my meetings fit all of the criteria above. They are an amazing club and are well worth checking out if you are seeking a network and build relationships in the metro-Atlanta area.  If you’d like to check out the City Club, call Amanda Chasse, the Membership Director, at (404) 442-2600 and mention my name.
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So, now that you’ve read  the information above, how are you going to use it to make 2010 a fantastic year for your life and/or your business?

 
Please take a moment and share your ideas in the comment section below.

 
Enjoy the rest of your day!  ~ Kris

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About Kris Cavanaugh

Kris Cavanaugh, owner of ShiftTM, is a Speaker, Author and Coach who specializes in helping others cultivate a C.E.O. mindset in every area of their life so their businesses, careers, and personal lives thrive.  She is an expert strategist with an amazing ability to pull her clients through difficult challenges to obtain the life they truly want.

If you have a desire to live your life “on purpose”, so you wake up every day excited about the possibilities and maintain an unwavering belief that you will overcome any obstacles to achieve your personal and professional goals more easily, call Kris at 404-551-3601 or go to http://begintoshift.com/landpage/MakeTheSHIFT.htm to schedule your complimentary meeting today.

Kris is author of “Stuck to C.E.O.” now available from Amazon at http://amzn.com/0982663668.

Need a Speaker?  
Kris Cavanaugh is a Professional Member of the NSA (National Speakers Association).  If you or people you know are seeking speakers, panelists, or workshop instructors for any type of association, corporate, nonprofit or industry meeting, please contact Shift, Inc., at events@begintoshift.com.  You can learn more about Kris’ presentations at
http://begintoshift.com/book-kris-to-speak-at-your-event.