5 Ways to Create a Positive First Impression

When someone calls your office or visits your premises, the first impression will linger for some time. It's so important to create a positive first impression that leaves all visitors (customers, suppliers and other stakeholders alike) feeling like they are valued and that your organisation is professional and ready for business.

  1. Smile - it's pretty basic but makes a big difference. Even if you're on the phone, putting a smile in your voice can be sensed in your tone. Make it a genuine smile too. People can tell the difference. You may find it useful to have a mirror by your desk to check you are smiling.

  2. Don't sigh when you greet someone or answer the phone. This is just plain rude. No matter what's going on around you, pause for a brief moment and collect yourself mentally. Sighing when you greet someone basically tells them that you'd rather not be talking to them.

  3. Be present and focus on what you're doing. Don't try and finish something off quickly and make them wait. Whatever you do, break from what you're doing momentarily and acknowledge the person. You can then finish off what is more important to you and then give them your full attention. Avoid looking elsewhere when you are talking to them.

  4. Listen carefully to what they're saying and pay full attention. Avoid jumping in too quickly. You can take control by asking questions but don't be too quick to offer a solution before you have gathered the information you need. You are the expert, so you should ask questions to clarify what they need but you should listen carefully to what they are trying to say. It also helps at this point to show a little empathy. If they are frustrated, you can empathize by saying something like, "I can see how this could be frustrating for you" or "This must be really frustrating for you. Let's see what we can do to help you out."

  5. Use positive, 'can-do' language. Tell them what you can do for them. Help them feel good about themselves. Provide a positive affirmation along the lines of, "Yes, I can help you with that" or "I can help you there". No one wants to hear that they have come to the wrong place or have called the wrong number. You can help them out by saying something like, "The best person to help with that is....... and I can put you through to them now" or "The right place that can help you sort that out is........would you like me to help you find your way?"

There are lots of things you can do to create a positive first impression - these few ideas will get you started.