The title of this article suggests that you might be standing in front of a crowd of 300 and introducing yourself. Not really. You just met one guy who looks like he might be nice to talk with at this party you both are enjoying. But – did you realize when you said hello that you just met everyone he knows too? Well, you did.
When someone meets us for the first time, they are physically standing near us, looking at our face, hearing our voice, interpreting our words but … they are making an impression on us that we will likely share with anyone in our personal network of friends and family. If you decide that you don’t like the way he wears his clothes, or that he is not friendly and someone you know mentions his name to you, you will respond with your opinion about him. Be is good or bad, he has just been introduced in absentia to your friend. This is a scenario played out over and over again until it may come back to you directly. Has anyone ever said to you, “Oh, yes, I have heard a lot about you.”? What have they heard and from whom did they hear it? Who knows?
Sometimes your first introduction to someone is by phone. Impressions you make this way come from just your tone of voice and words. Body language is not available to solidify your message. The other person is most likely going to be in an office with others and inevitably able to render an immediate criticism of you to a coworker when hanging up. You are not there to defend or change their opinion. Therefore, being appropriate with your language, friendly in your tone and kind in your voice can make a great impression on their 300.
If there is a tip to take away, it would be that when you present yourself for the first time to someone, check your body language, tone of voice, and words. Make certain they are saying you are friendly, approachable and glad to meet them. Make sure your words are kind and appropriate and understandable. Don’t let cuss words slip into the conversation. Use the other person’s name when you say hello and goodbye. Keep the small talk happy talk.
The great impression you make on one person will be the impression they will share with the 300 people in their personal network. Hopefully they will do the same with you so when you talk about them to your 300, they will be considered in a positive way.
Cynthia Lett is an eminent etiquette and protocol expert with over 30 years teaching the subjects to professionals worldwide. She is the Executive Director of the International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals and Director of The Lett Group. She has earned the distinctions of Certified Etiquette Professional (CEP) and Certified Protocol Professional (CPP). Learn more about business etiquette here: www.lettgroup.com