As a business owner, it is likely that you are the face of your business, particularly if you are the first person that your customers and potential customers have contact with.
How you are perceived and the way you make others feel influences people’s perception of you, and this reflects on their perception of your business.
It is important to frequently assess your image and what it conveys. This is not just your choice of clothing or hairstyle, this includes day-to-day behaviour including your body language, facial expressions and greeting methods.
For example, while you may not realise, you have a standard or default facial expression. The facial expression that you show when you are engaged or concentrating in a meeting, might actually look like a scowl which makes people uncomfortable and pushes people away. The facial expression that you show when you are interested in what someone is saying might unintentionally look like a silly grin or an expression that encourages an overly lax environment.
There are a few things you can do to find out if you do this and if so, to correct it. One is to actually close your eyes and imagine various business scenarios and then look in the mirror at the expression that you show in these moments. You can also ask trusted colleagues/suppliers/friends. Finally, you can invest in a few sessions with a presentation coach who will help you present well and command attention in the best way without being off-putting or overpowering. Sometimes it is simply a matter of concentrating on your body language and facial expressions when in meetings.
Another way that your image can give the wrong impression to staff, clients and potential clients, is the way you meet people. If you are holding a meeting at your office or have arrived at a meeting place first, you will be sitting down when the other person (let’s say this is a new business meeting and you are meeting with a potential client). What happens next is crucial in setting the tone for the rest of your meeting.
You could welcome that person and shake their hand while standing over your desk. If you do this you set up a power play and can seem dominating or unapproachable. Alternatively, you could stay seated and greet them or shake their hand while sitting down. This is rude and can be perceived as being uninterested or arrogant. Except when having fieveryday conversations with staff, the best method is to walk around the desk to welcome the person and then sit down at the same time. This encourages open communication and gives you the right image for a good working relationship.
Business is personal and is largely about people and relationships. Your image and how you make others feel plays a big role in being approachable, trustworthy and likeable to clients and potential clients.
Have you ever been given a bad first impression by someone in business because of their etiquette, mannerisms, image or communication?