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10 ways to make good impression in 30 seconds

The first 30 seconds count. Whether itís a date or a job interview, our brains make snap judgments about people within seconds of meeting them.
It starts before they even open their mouths. Research shows the first 30 seconds of an interview often determines whether the person gets hired or not.
Most of the time we donít even realize how quickly we judge people. Our subconscious mind evaluates the person in seconds. Our conscious mind then proceeds to identify clues that validate what we already think.
Itís unfair, but itís also a fact.
Whether itís a sales call, a blind date, or a first meeting with future in-laws, if you want things to go well, it pays to be intentional about how you handle the first 30 seconds.
Here are ten tips to help you close the deal, land the job, get the guy, woo the woman, or win over your future mother-in-law:
1. Open your body. Before you walk in the door take a minute to take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and straighten your posture. If you walk into the room with open body language youíll come across as confident and relaxed.
2. Smile. It sounds obvious, but youíd be amazed at how many people go into a meeting looking like they just smelled something bad. Donít wait for them to smile at you. Walk in smiling with your mouth and your eyes.
3. Leave bulky bags outside. Struggling with straps and packages makes you look frazzled and disorganized. If youíre hauling around a 30-pound Samsonite, discretely drop it by the door before you enter the room. You want the attention on the people, not your stuff.
4. Make eye contact with everyone. Itís tempting to zero in on the person in charge, but while youíre zooming in, the others feel left out. Upon entering, make direct eye contact with every person in the meeting.
5. Let them know youíre delighted to be there. A comment like, ě Driving over here, I was thinking about how excited I am about this meeting.î tells them that theyíre important to you. You donít have to suck up, just sincerely share your enthusiasm.
6. Get them talking within 30 seconds. Donít start with a monologue. Engage them immediately by asking a question. Nodding with eye contact as they answer helps you establish an immediate connection.
7. Be prepared, not scripted. Plan some comments in advance, but donít script things out so much that you sound like a robot. If their company just launched a great ad campaign, plan to mention it. Knowing you have something for later gives you more confidence in the beginning.
8. Ask an unexpected question. You can ease tension by asking something off-beat like, ěThey say the world is going to end today, what do you think we should order for lunch? Only do it if youíre comfortable with humor.
9. Donít fidget. As tempting as it is to tug at your waistband or tie, donít. When theyíre talking look directly at them, donít fiddle with your socks.
10. Be authentic. Planning doesnít mean being fake. People can spot a phony. The goal of preparation is to give you the confidence that allows the real you to shine through. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to be yourself.
Business strategist Lisa Earle McLeod is the President of McLeod & More inc. a consulting firm that specializes in Sales Force and Leadership Development. She is a keynote speaker and the author of The Triangle of Truth, a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book for Leaders. www.TriangleofTruth.com

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