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    How Women Business Leaders Can Make a Great First Impression in 30 Seconds

    As women business leaders, we know it’s impossible to avoid the “first impression” rule. We also know that as we walk into a room, we set the stage for others to make judgments about us. It is important for you to have a clear perception and understanding of who you are in order for others to see your authenticity.

    Here are some excellent pointers on how to create a positive impression I’ve compiled from an article by Lisa Earle McLeod.

    Open your body
    Very simple advice but true. Lisa says to take a deep breath and relax before entering a room. Your confidence will shine through.

    Smile
    You’d think everyone would do this automatically, but I often see more sour faces at meetings I attend than smiling ones! Lisa suggests you walk into a meeting smiling, and don’t wait for others to do it first.

    Leave the suitcases outside
    We’ve all seen the people struggling with briefcases and shoulder bags. Let your personality get the attention, not your baggage!

    Make eye contact
    Lisa says that while it’s important to seek out those in charge and make eye contact, scan the room and make that contact with everyone else, too.

    Be happy
    Yes, you want those in charge to know you are happy to be there too, says Lisa. You don’t have to suck up, just express your delight in being invited.

    Start a dialogue
    Rather than start talking about yourself, says Lisa, get them talking about themselves. It’s a great icebreaker and helps you get some good information up front.

    Be prepared, but don’t act scripted
    You want to have some answers planned, but be ready to ask pointed questions that show you are paying attention.

    Ask unexpected questions
    And speaking of questions, unexpected ones usually get noticed. You can try to add some humor, says Lisa, but only if you are really comfortable doing so.

    Don’t fidget
    Try not to fidget when making a first impression, says Lisa. It is distracting and makes it seem as if you are not paying attention.

    Be authentic
    I like this quote from Lisa, “Planning doesn’t mean being fake.” The goal, says Lisa, is to exude confidence and that comes from being prepared.

    The most important take away from these suggestions is that you understand your own uniqueness. If you don’t get it, how will you translate that to others? It’s not fair that we judge people in the first 30 seconds, says Lisa, but it is true. So, keep that in mind the next time you need to make a good first impression.

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