They say that first impressions can make or break you, and they mean it.
Whether you’re at an interview or networking with possible investors for your company, the way you come across in those first few minutes will decide whether a business relationship arises from the meeting.
So, it stands to reason that you would want to do everything in your power to make that first impression the right one.
But how do you do that?
You might think it takes tons of charisma, charm, talent, and practice, but it turns out, all of that is just icing on the cake.
In reality, there’s just one thing you need to make the right impression and seal the deal on the perfect business opportunity.
Did you know that nonverbal cues have 4 times the impact of verbal cues do on a first impression?
That means you can say absolutely nothing during an introduction and still leave a good impression—if only you know the right nonverbal cues.
There are several: smiling, firm handshakes, maintaining eye-contact, you know the drill.
But it turns out, the biggest nonverbal cue of all isn’t even something you do.
It’s simply how you look.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a runway model to be a success. How you look simply means that you put effort into your appearance.
That’s right, dressing to impress actually works.
If you don’t believe me, just consider: 33% of employers claim to know in the first 90 seconds of an interview if they will hire someone or not, 15% of employers are less likely to hire a woman who frowns, and 65% of employers say the way that candidates dress is the deciding factor for hiring.
And just as intimidating, potential business partners and investors are just as quick to judge.
So how do you make sure that your physical appearance is a slam dunk?
It’s actually pretty simple.
First, is make sure you have a personal grooming routine! Shave, moisturize, wash and brush your hair, and make sure you smell spring fresh (but not overpowering!)
Second, choose your outfit with care.
Dressing to impress, as it turns out, doesn’t mean keeping up with the trends. In fact, in one survey, 70% of business execs said they prefer their employees NOT to be trendy.
So forget this fall’s fashion, and go for classic over eye-catching.
Along the same lines, bright colors are a turnoff in business settings, so try to resist the urge to wear those bright socks or that neon tie that you love.
Stick to simple greys, whites, blues, and tans, and if you want to stand out, throw in a sharp black blazer or some polished dress shoes.
In other words, your appearance, from your hair to your socks, should be professional, serious, and polished. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed (no wrinkles!) and stand tall when you present your physically conscientious self to your future business contact.
As long as you keep in mind how much bearing your nonverbal presentation has on a first impression, you are sure to win over anyone in just a few easy minutes!