1. how-to-make-first-impressions-that-build-lasting-relationships-1-638Keep it Real I like the quote by Oscar Wilde that says, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Sometimes, we get so caught up in trying to impress that we forget to show our true selves—we hold back opinions, squash our creative ideas, and downplay our personalities, all for fear of being judged.
  1. Make Deposits, Not Withdrawals Just like a bank, every exchange or interaction that you have is like a deposit or withdrawal. People either feel energized after working with you—or exhausted. To make sure you’re in the former camp, examine the factors that contribute toward deposits. Are you easy to work with? Do you give the person with whom you’re speaking undivided attention? Do you support your team during peak periods of stress? Are you leaving conversations making others feel empowered, motivated, and energized? These are great leadership qualities that will help you grow your deposits. One easy tip that you can try today is giving the person you are speaking with your full attention. I often find people distracted in their own thoughts. When you’re having a conversation with someone, give your undivided attention and pay a close watch to your non-verbal gestures. The more focused you are in your conversations, the more you’ll get out of them, and the more deposits you’ll make.
  1. Get Comfortable With Pressure In the business world, people are defined by how they handle stress—it’s called “cope-ability.” Whether you’re presenting in front of a massive audience or dealing with a customer service crisis, nailing the pressure moments will define a lasting impression. So, pay attention to how you handle stress and pressure, and start getting comfortable with it. In fact, go out of your way to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. When you do this often enough, you’ll be more immune to pressure when you are stress-tested—it just becomes more normal. It’s similar to muscle memory, where the act gets so routine, your body just goes into autopilot. Being in your comfort zone for too long only creates a situation that makes it easier for you to crack under pressure. But if you’re constantly in the “stretch” zone, you’ll create a habit of performing well no matter what the pressure level.
  1. Be Bright, Be Brief, Be Gone  It’s all about being an expert in your line of work and presenting your ideas in a succinct and simple way. First, you need to know what you’re great at, not what you’re good at. And when you know what that is, don’t be afraid to offer solutions and bring value to discussions. Whether you’re presenting at a meeting or having an impromptu chat with your boss, nail your point with simple language and simple solutions. Be bright, be brief, be gone—and you’ll always be remembered.
  1. Get Elected You often hear the advice to “manage up” and to promote yourself, making sure the higher-ups know about your achievements. And many people in the corporate world have climbed the ranks this way. But this approach is never sustainable because it lacks authenticity. In the long run, a “vote for him or her” approach is much more powerful than “vote for me.” You want to be elected; the person who people throughout the organization want to help, want to work for, and want to see succeed. This will happen when you can authentically influence your audience throughout the organization, not just manage up. In fact, some of the best leaders meet with cross-functional groups, at all levels, all the time. Ask yourself this question, “Do I work with a diverse group of people at all levels?” If you do, great. If you don’t, look for ways to extend your network to a broader set of colleagues. It’ll create more inclusion and buy-in, and a more successful career all around.
  1. Take interest in others’ interests. We are so busy today that it’s difficult to make the time to get to know other people. But when you do take the time, they’ll notice it and be grateful. In the book, Carnegie advises: “Today there is simply no excuse not to take an interest in others’ interests. Even if you are not actively involved in clubs, groups or local organizations where face-to-face interactions are possible, there is still an abundance of opportunities to learn about others’ passions and concerns. The bottom line is that you must become genuinely interested in others before you can expect anyone to be interested in you.”
  1. Make an effort to smile. Even when different cultures come together, a smile always brings the same joy and happiness to everyone involved. “There is a simple reason for this phenomenon: when we smile, we are letting people know we are happy to be with them, happy to meet them, happy to be interacting with them. They in turn feel happier to be dealing with us. Of course we don’t always feel like smiling, but if we make the effort, we not only make those around us happier but also become happier ourselves.
  1. Learn to memorize people’s names. In the digital age, names are like company logos, identifying not only who one is but also what one represents—likes and dislikes, yeas and nays. The hundreds of millions of bloggers, tweeters, and Facebookers surely want their voices heard, but they also want their names known. Although your own name can hold value today (think Twitter!), remembering other people’s names will show others that they’re worth remembering.
  1. Listen longer. Listening’s power, like that of smiling, is strong. When you listen well you not only make an instant impression, you also build a solid bridge for lasting connections. Who can resist being around a person who suspends his thoughts in order to value yours?” To really listen to someone else, you need to be able to hear what others are saying, what they don’t say and what they really mean. This means you have to stop interrupting, listen for feelings, repeat what you heard back to the person, acknowledge what the person said and look for nonverbal clues.
  1. Discuss what matters to them. To truly influence other people, you need to understand what matters to them. Once you know what matters to others through a practice of longer listening, you can then truly engage them by putting such manners at the forefront of your interactions. If you’re talking business, this process is about putting the customer back into customer relationship management.

Source: Forbes and Open Forum