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Make Your First Meetings Count

Written by: Nancy Hovde, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

Business Professionals often experience, what I refer to as, a first meeting. First meetings such as when we network, interview or simply have a first phone or video call with someone new we’ve never met. These first meetings can make or break a relationship. Here's how to make a good impression.

Think of all the professional first meetings you've ever had such as, a future employer, new

business colleague or within your local community. Maybe you are in sales, in business for

yourself or are just someone who finds it pleasant to connect with those in your community.


Let's face it, life is more fulfilling when we can make a good impression and make encounters

more meaningful, significant and memorable.


First meetings offer so much to learn about someone new and what opportunity this connection could lead to. Approaching with curiosity and most of all, trusting our vibes about someone new, is key in creating and building a positive long-term, professional relationship. Sometimes we may be wrong, misjudged or have incorrect information or worse yet, we were misinformed.


Certainly, specific events may have happened that can change our initial prediction of how we

thought a connection or relationship may develop. We learn and grow from this and we become more aware for future first meetings.


I like to meet with referrals or anyone who seems to be doing something relevant in my industry.


I will also meet with people I think are interesting. Many of the projects I have been involved in

have come out of random meetings.


Depending on the situation, presenting ourselves for the first time can be nerve-wracking or

exciting. I am guessing we can all recall those nervous first meetings with future employers.

How do you feel in a first meeting? Shy? Self-conscious? Excited? Do you find yourself

comparing, searching for a connection or trying to show interest? Maybe you are purely open

and approach the first meeting with simple curiosity.


Have you ever had a first meeting and found someone who was very unprepared? Or worse

yet, perhaps you felt unprepared? This can cause us to become impatient. Avoid this; it is easy

to do a little work in advance to figure out the other person’s interests.

Here are some tips that will help to create a memorable meeting and a strong, business or

personal connection:

  • First, determine the number one thing you want to communicate with this person. Many times a first meeting may be to talk about yourself and your current activities, industry related interests or business projects. Most people can probably handle one, maybe two, areas of focus during a first meeting, so it’s important to lead off with the one thing you want to accomplish within the meeting. If you find you are two minutes into a meeting and still have no clue why you’re speaking with the person, politely ask, “What do you want to get out of this meeting?” This offers a simple hint: cut the chit-chat and focus. It isn't being rude; it is being efficient, so you can make the time together useful for both of you.

  • Try not to make a first meeting an endless stream of attempts to connect with someone. For example, if you discuss the other person’s activities such as running, reading or their vacation home in Europe, make sure it’s relevant to the meeting’s topic. Most people can focus one hundred percent of their energy on you for about fifteen minutes, so make those first fifteen minutes count.

  • It can be helpful and effective to have one thing in your head that you think this new person can learn from you. Keep in mind that regardless of the outcome of a meeting, you can view it as a success if you learn one thing. If your meeting isn’t going anywhere after ten minutes, you may have to be subtle and announce, “Wow, I’ve got five more minutes left, I'd like to really see how we can network.” It helps, of course, if you know what you want this new person to learn from you, and it relates to what they care about.

  • Remove your ego. Share what you do, not your title, employer or financial status. It may be a shock to realize this, but for most people, your title, company name or financial status will mean very little, it is what you do in your company and in life that makes you interesting. Start by describing the primary benefit that your work, intention or value offers to your listener, along with a few punchy action words that support your true reason for meeting. Never underestimate the power of first meetings. Within minutes, we quickly determine whether we want to spend more time building a business or connection with a new person. No one wants to waste his or her time, so your pre-meeting prep work will help make your next first meeting count - And it may lead to a wonderful, unexpected opportunity!


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Nancy Hovde, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Nancy is a leading Life Empowerment Coach who has combined her professional background, credentials, personal experience, knowledge, and insight to inspire and motivate those who wish to create positive change. For over 15 years, she has empowered clients who desire positive change with career/life purpose, personal growth, or wellness goals. Nancy will help you discover how true change can happen when we use our time and resources to develop our minds and spirits, examine our values, and let go of issues that hold us back. She inspires and guides clients to live their optimal life through her books, blog posts, articles, and coaching services. Nancy is the author of Uber Empowerment and Uber Empowerment Quotes: 500 Inspirational Quotes for Knowledge, Insight & Wisdom. Her credentials include Certified Life Coach, B.A. Interpersonal Communication, Stress Management Specialist, Behavior Change Specialist, and Certified Personal Trainer.

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