Networking Tips

First Impressions

Submitted by Russ Bibens, The Masters BNI, BNI Vermont


How many of you have heard that the first 10 seconds is most important when meeting someone for the first time? Probably all of you. You haven’t even spoken, and already you have been judged. You can be judged on body language, something as simple as posture or even a smile, or your appearance. The latter is easily adjustable.

BNI is a professional business organization designed to help your company grow and be profitable. If you are going to meet with clients, would you show up in shorts and flip flops? For the most part, no. It is appropriate to wear either equally appropriate attire as, or a step above, your client. For example, people in a trade would be appropriately attired in slacks and maybe a branded shirt. This would give a first impression of confidence and caring, which can set the stage for a positive first impression.

That said, would you go to a BNI meeting in less than you would wear to meet a client? Dr. Ivan Misner has stated that jeans are not professional. Again let me use the analogy of the person dressed in shorts and flip flops and the person in business attire. Who would you be more apt to give a referral to: the beach goer or the professional? The level of confidence attire alone gives you in the professional would make you more likely to give referrals to the professional.  This isn’t to say you wouldn’t give referrals to the other eventually or at all, but most likely less often and with a concern of how they would show up at the client’s site.

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