You probably do, especially if they are likely to be important to you, perhaps a new sponsor, a key stakeholder, or a major supplier.
But, do you go beyond that? Do you consider exactly what impression you wish to create?
Probably not, most people don’t.
Which gives you a great opportunity to take the lead. Here’s some ideas on how you can do this.
- Write down examples of the thoughts you’d like them to be thinking after the first meeting when they think about you. For example: “She really know’s what she is talking about.” “This is the sort of guy we need on our side.” “At last, a project manager with real dynamism!”
- Think of three words that you would like to be in their minds at the end of the meeting when they think about you. Such as, focused, challenging, meticulous. Or, formidable, engaging, kind. It’s okay, just examples. You choose your own!
- Based on what you know of them, write down a few examples of the kind of things they may consider would make a good impression. For instance, wearing a tie, cracking a joke or two, engaging in small talk, having documentary evidence to refer to, being able to reference powerful people. Come on, I know you’re starting to sweat a little, but this is serious stuff.
- Similarly, write down a few ideas about what would create a bad impression with them. For instance, wearing a tie, cracking a joke or two… yes, I am repeating myself for a reason. You have to guess at their cultural norms which will probably be different from your won, and figure out what might work best for them as individuals.
Now, I accept that this may take a few minutes to reflect on, but only a few minutes and without any other effort, you will be more likely to make the sort of impression you would like to make.
In fact, many of my clients tell me they have made it a habit to consider this as they walk towards the meeting room, or wait for the virtual meeting to open.
NB: Please resist the usual temptation to select works like trustworthy, expert, professional. They are boring because everyone is trying to be that (even if you don’t think so!)
Review the OnDemand webinar Building Your Reputation