Kevin McCarthy says “My belief is you have one chance to make a first impression.” You have less than seven minutes to exude trustworthiness and competence during a first meeting. Research demonstrates bad first impressions are not only tough to shake but also have the tendency to create a self-fulfilling feedback gap. Meaning, if you make a poor first impression on someone, then you will have created an assignment to be attended to.

Every occupation and office tends to have its own dress code, from finance to fashion, and there is no single way to dress for all occasions. Your posture and body language matter, largely because these nonverbal cues tap into people’s primal ability to judge whether someone is friend or foe. You need to watch this.

A firm handshake, confident body language, direct eye contact, all this stuff still matter.  While in conversation, let the person or people you’re talking to lead. You can establish trustworthiness by actively listening. People feel trust when they feel listened to and understood.

Arrive at the location shortly before the meeting is to take place. Don’t try to time it to the last second because you’re then increasing the chance of being late, which is always a mistake. At the same time, don’t be too early, as it communicates being too anxious.

Listening closely and taking notes on a meeting is a way to show respect and to use your time more effectively. But to really nail that meeting, make sure you complete all the follow-up items you have.

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