Benet on Making a Great First Impression

I attended the 12.12.09 iDuplicate event in Irvine, California last week.  Larry Benet was one of the key note speakers that Scott Magers cajoled into speaking.  In front of a small crowd of about 150 attentive listeners Benet gave a wonderful presentation on how to make a lasting & good first impression.  Known on the speaking circuit as The Connector, Benet pulled himself from his usual duties that revolve around his charitable groups and gave us some insights on how to approach a new person or a person of power and walk away with a business card.

First he said, make it about them and not about you.  Since you only have one chance to make a first impression it’s vital to get it right.    Consequently talking about yourself is boring and uninteresting to most people besides your mother and sometimes your spouse. Therefore open with a question about what they do for fun.  Instead of the usual, what do you do for work, you will immediately set yourself apart.  You might even find that they don’t hear you correctly, assuming you just asked about what they do for work since that’s usually what we hear.  We are such automatons that it’s important to nudge people out of their normal modes of behavior and with this question, if you get them to hear it, you will do just that.

Second, ask them what’s their most important project that they are currently working on.  Keeping the conversation focused on them, again, keeps them interested in where the conversation is going.  This too will make a good impression.

Third, offer your network and connections to help them achieve their goals.  Hopefully you have something or know somebody who can assist them in accomplishing their big project.  You may even achieve hero status if you know the perfect person or have the right resource that is the missing link.  Do you think that will make an impression?

Fourth, now that you have made the big discovery about what’s important to your person of interest, you must remember it and follow up.  So when you score their business card, be sure to put your notes on it so you don’t forget the valuable information you just acquired.  Confucius says, long pencil is better than short memory.  Of course it goes without speaking that you’ll follow through.

Finally, since you have that business card, use it.  But again, it’s not about you.  Make it about them.  Send a handwritten personal card, create a mouse pad with their picture on it or a mug of their mug and you’ll make still another lasting impression.  In today’s world where most people receive junk email, junk mail and impersonal correspondence, your overtures will be viewed as exceptional and most people like to do business with exceptional people.  Don’t you?

To hear more from Larry Benet, click on his photo and listen….

Hope you enjoyed these tips on how to make a great first impression.  If you have a strategy that has worked well for you, I’d love to hear about it…….Peace, Megan