Seal the deal You have just a few seconds to make that first impression and you get only one shot at it. This month, Guillaume Mariole from Ignite Fitness & Wellness shows that, with a little thought and preparation, you can make some smart choices. Meeting and greeting
Dressed for success – female executives
Remember that your goal when you first meet someone is to put them at ease and make them want to do business with you. • Stand up to greet them, so you can show you respect them. • Smile; facial expressions convey more than words. • Always establish eye contact to show you are focussed, but remember, the idea is not to stare them down. • Offer a firm handshake. If in doubt about the appropriateness of this form of greeting, like when meeting someone from the Middle East, wait for them to offer to shake hands first. • Pay attention to names; if you repeat the name as soon as you have heard it, you will be more likely to remember it. There’s nothing more embarrassing than not being able to recollect the name of someone you’ve just struck a deal with! Quick tip; Place their business card strategically on the table in front of you during the meeting.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so the “picture” you first present says much about you. Ask yourself whether your appearance is saying the right thing to help create a favourable first impression. • Respect the local culture and general good sense, and don’t wear anything revealing. • Avoid wearing strong perfumes or smelling of smoke. • Maintain neat and clean hands and nails with regular manicures. Try and keep it professional and save the psychedelic nail paint for a non-work party. • Keep your make up and hairstyle simple and appropriate. • Keep your accessories conservative, classic and business-like. This is not the time to unleash your inner disco queen!
Entertaining business associates • T able manners say a lot about a person, so it’s crucial to get them right. • The golden rule when faced with a mass of cutlery is to work from the outside in. • Don’t order messy food that is difficult to eat. • Hail your waiter/waitress by making eye contact and discreetly waving your hand. • Before sitting at the table, wait for your host to sit first or for instructions to sit. • At a networking event, hold your drink in your left hand to keep your right hand dry and available for handshakes. • No matter how much you want to speak, never talk with your mouth full.
Dressed for success – male executives Appropriate grooming not only helps you make a good first impression, but also helps you feel “the part”, which will help you be more confident. • Err on the side of caution; it’s better to be slightly formal than too casual. • Ensure you wear a well-fitted suit. We are spoilt for choice these days, but it’s always better to invest in a few high-quality suits than many cheap knock offs. • Ties should command respect, not give the onlookers a migraine. Take the time to master the art of tying the perfect knot and never wear novelty ties – unless you’re in the media, advertising or showbiz. • Keep your hairstyles short and neat, and any facial hair trimmed – unless you’re in the professions I just mentioned. It’s not fair how
some people can get away with protocol murder! • When choosing a bag, nothing beats leather, be it a formal briefcase, a trendy messenger bag or a handheld portfolio. Invest in a good cut and finish. • Avoid jewellery and opt for a bit of subtle bling with some stylish cufflinks.
How to impress • Be on time; try to arrive for engagements a few minutes early and plan for traffic delays. • Be yourself; a calm and confident demeanour will help others feel at ease. • Small talk goes a long way; learn about a person before meeting them so you can easily start a conversation and keep it flowing. • Be positive; your attitude shows through in everything you do. • Be courteous, attentive and polite at all times. Many of these tips are simple and obvious, yet are all too often overlooked. You have one chance to make an impression, so make it count!
About Guillaume Mariole is the Managing Director of Ignite Fitness & Wellness. For more information, visit www.ignite-wellness.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.