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How to make a positive first impression as a leader

Rather than trying to impress with power and influence, try authenticity and respect. By Priya Prakasan

The most memorable leaders are often those who effortlessly know how to make an unforgettable first impression. It’s true that you only get one shot at it. What is said, done at that first interaction will set the tone for all future interactions. Avoid self-promotion and instead focus on building a rapport based on mutual respect. Ease off on trying to impress them with your power and influence; it will come off as aggressive. Instead try these tips that showcase a more steady approach.

Positive body language
Don’t resort to external factors to impress. Make your body language work for you. It can speak volumes about the kind of person you are and your confidence level. Your nonverbal movements and gestures can have more impact than your words. Project your confidence, stand tall with your back straight, never slouch, even when you are sitting. Make eye contact with the person so as to engage them further. To practice, try out power posing before a big meeting or presentation. Stand straight, shoulders back, chin a tad bit up, legs in a ‘V’ shape, and put your hands on your hips. Stay in the pose for a few minutes and draw in that sense of self-confidence. Feel the impact? Now remember that feeling and increased self-confidence when you’re at the meeting.

Be engaging
To maintain a high performing team, it is important to keep your team engaged. Engaging leaders step up and proactively work to connect with employees and quickly build a rapport. It’s a matter of caring for employees beyond just a single-minded approach to work. Your initial interactions with them will help set the stage for the rapport that follows. So make it a point to go beyond work in your first few interactions. Find areas of commonality, and be attentive and open-minded. It will make it easier for employees to relate to you and increase your likeability.

Be a good listener
This is one of the traits of a good leader.  Active listening is key to effective working relationships. When you give your full attention and maintain good eye contact and an open body language, your employees genuinely believe that their opinions and points of view matter. Lean forward and listen attentively, pause before you reply to avoid the risk of interrupting. These conversations will help you learn about them, and also from them. Start building this rapport from the first meeting itself.

No-phones-around-others policy
It is not good business practice to have your phone in your hand when talking to others. It shows that you are not engaged and fully committed to the conversation at hand. It’s also rude as it reveals that you don’t really care about what the other person has to say.  This is not the way you want to go if you’re trying to make a good impression. So have a strict policy of not using your phone when talking to others. Putting your phone away makes people feel appreciated and respected.

Be open-minded
As a leader it is imperative you embrace diversity for workplace success. Appreciate the different perspectives, approaches, thought processes, and knowledge backgrounds of the people around you from the get-go. Learn to strategically apply and develop them to stimulate innovation and growth. See them as potential drivers of change that bring new opportunities for the business. This sense of inclusion and appreciation for individuality will also encourage employees share their ideas and innovations without fear of rapprochement. This approach should be your focus from the very first interaction.

Photograph: Katemangostar – Freepik.com 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz

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