Did you know that your professional and intellectual capacity only accounts for 15% during your first impression? This means that non-verbal communication has much more influence on your first impression – it adds up to 85%! Your clothes, your behavior and your image define that first impression, so it is crucial to think about these things too.
The first seven seconds of a meeting will determine whether or not a potential employer, business partner or new client will like you. On Thursday September 29th TopFem organized a Network Event that focused on this topic: Personal Branding. Special guest speaker Jellie Mulder from the Nelleke Mulder Imago Group walked us through these important seven seconds.
First of all, Jellie Mulder reminded us of all the personal information that is already out there. LinkedIn and Facebook provide a lot of details about your personal life, so take a moment and think about which message you want to send into the world. Jellie then talked outfits. She showed us three alternative dress styles: casual, business-casual and formal-business attire. Her advice was to dress formal-business when you are meeting new clients or potential employers, because it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Formal-business means dark clothing and layers, such as jackets over a blouse. Your skirt should not be too short, but your blouse may have a bright color to contrast with your dark suit and to make your total outfit fierce and powerful.
Second, Jellie told us what to do when you arrive at your destination. You should show your enthusiasm to everyone – from potential employer to receptionist. Make sure everybody catches your positive attitude. Jellie suggested that you are about 15 minutes early. If you are a little bit nervous, go to the bathroom and do the Amy Cuddy pose. This pose is also known as the superwoman pose and it gets your adrenalin flowing.
After striking this pose, you are ready to tackle those first seven seconds of your interview or meeting. It is show time! Shake hands, say your full name and compliment the other person. Do not make this a personal compliment, but a business compliment. Do say ‘Your company is very interesting’ and do not say ‘Your hair looks good’. This way you break the ice on a professional level. Jellie Mulder ended her interactive lecture with an ABC: Aandacht, Begrip, Complimenten (Attention, Understanding, Compliments). These three words are the key to your success. Keep in mind to pay attention to your own presentation, show understanding and make business compliments.
After Jellie Mulder, Emma Schutte took the stage and gave us advice about personal branding from her point of view as a young lawyer. Her motto is to be yourself. It is good to adjust yourself to the company, but should not lose your own personality along the way. She also told us that it is important to create your own moments to present yourself during meetings. Make sure you are heard and practice this during meetings. Last but not least, Emma told us to keep in mind with whom you are communicating. American business partners are mostly very open, whereas British business partners can be quite formal.
Our monthly drink ended with story-telling. Three young professionals shared their stories and our members, whether young professionals themselves or students, were able to ask any questions and to share their own stories.