In the virtual business world that we now exist in, making a great first impression is just as important as it ever was – and can be more challenging.
What is different virtually to what we would experience in person? Some of the things we used to rely on such as making eye contact, shaking hands, informal chat, body language and the dexterity with which we produced our business card have either disappeared or been challenged by the technology.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
We all make judgements of others when we first see them. Often, we form an opinion of someone in the first 30 seconds of an encounter and so what do we base that on?
The biggest influence is how someone looks – their clothes, posture, body language, facial expressions and grooming. This is then followed by how they sound and the words they use.
Simple things are important
Let’s focus on what we can do to make a great virtual first impression and, for this, simple things are important:
• Be prepared – mentally and physically
• Appearance – consider how much they will see of you. Typically, on a video call, people will only see your head and shoulders but what if you need to stand up or turn around? Be professional, dress appropriately, check how you look on screen.
• Ensure that the lighting in the room is good and that you are lit from the front so that your facial expressions can be seen clearly.
• Background/workspace – what impression do you want to give? Make sure that the background is consistent with the image that you want to portray and that there is not anything that will distract your audience’s attention.
Virtual backgrounds can work well but can also be distracting if your broadband speed is not good.
• Be natural
• Be confident
• Take control – of the technical set up of your screen and camera. Think about the position of both so that it looks like you are making eye contact as naturally as possible and the other parties are seeing the best of you.
• Verbal business card – prepare your introduction – who you are, where from, what you do (relate it to them). Be brief and confident – voice and body language
• Greeting – replaces handshake – Good morning/afternoon/hello (not Hi), smile, eye contact, how are you? Pleased to meet you.
• Give them your full attention
• Rapport/chat – remember to – there is a temptation to get straight into business.
Pay attention to these simple things and you will be making a great virtual first impression.
If you have any questions or would like some help with implementing some of these ideas, please get in touch on 0118 9690783 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.