Making a good 1st
impression at your next presentation
Note: Originally this was written for the radio. See link at CREDIBILITY for more information.
Have you heard the saying
“YOU NEVER HAVE A
SECOND CHANCE TO MAKE A
Well, in a business presentation, that first impression you make
could mean the difference between success and failure . . . right
from the start.
Why? Because if you’re
presenting to your boss, a client or
a new customer you’re trying to
impress . . . a lot depends on how
you look, what you say, and how
you move. In fact, they all add up to your
initial credibility (Credibility) in front of your listeners – and
your first impression.
Audiences (the listeners, that is) will get an impression of you
even before you say your first word. What I mean is, even the
time you enter the room. The way you enter it. Your posture,
clothes, tone and volume of voice . . . your hand gestures, the
way you move your arms . . . also contribute to the impression
that you make. So, to professionally and effectively
communicate your intended message – and
the right impression of yourself – you must convey these
elements of communication correctly. They REALLY
In fact, most research shows, that the audience pays more
attention to your voice tones and “body language” than to the
actual words you say.
Next, let’s see the role of 4. POSTURE.
Of course, the way you stand and sit sends
a message. Are you standing straight? Shoulders level?
Chin up? Are you sitting upright in your chair, leaning slightly
forward? If so, you’ll be communicating confidence.
And that’s good.
The next way to make a good
impression involves Time. That
is, being ON TIME,
A simple solution is to have yourself and everything you need ready well before the due time of your meeting, lecture, presentation, speech or whatever is scheduled.
2. FAMOUS STUDY
A famous study done by psychologist Dr. Albert Mehrabian shows that the lasting impression – (in other words, how long people remember and retain what you say) – is influenced by non-verbal elements of communications such as hand movements, posture and clothing. His study showed that audiences paid attention more than half the time to the speaker’s body movements, rather than the words. The actual results were:
7% to the words;
38% to the voice;
and 55% to the body.
Another tactic, along with
effective posture, is keeping eye contact with your listeners. Do thi
Now, let’s look at some details.
The first is 3. ENTERING
The best-prepared oral presentation must have the best beginning. And, that first impression starts with your entrance into the room. First of all, I recommend that you see the place you’re going to speak and present in –But remember, you should do this BEFORE the presentation day, or at least a few hours before the scheduled time. This’ll be easy in your own company, but what about a client’s office or a hotel conference room in another city?
No problem. Just make a polite phone call to your customer. Tell them sincerely about your desire to do the best job for them, and request to see the place where you are going to give your presentation.
For example, say: “I really
would appreciate it if I could see the room. We can show you about our
If it i
In a hotel or conference center, a call to the Meeting and Sales Director or the Meetings Coordinator should solve your problem.
So, what are the benefits of
seeing the room ahead of time? You can
become familiar with the way the door functions, the seating pattern, tables,
chairs, electrical outlet
last tip about entering. Make sure
your buttons, zippers, necktie “ghutra” and “aghal” are in place and ready. It’s not flattering to you to be
straightening yourself out in front of your boss or customer. Do
it before you enter the room, in privacy.
Fumbling with your clothes or equipment in front of your audience
before you begin, create
An easy ingredient to success,
and one that you can decide on beforehand, is your clothes. But keep in mind that
1) a multi-cultural/multi-national workforce
2) the weather, and
3) your status, and the type of business being conducted
Details can be found in many books and on the Internet.
With regard to number 1
(multi-cultural workforce), the best advice for most supervisor
And that brings up point
number 2 (the weather) and a few obvious recommendations. The heat of
The 3rd point (your
For example, it is wise for
you to know the different tastes and traditions of the people from different
parts of the world. My own research
shows that black i
Another curious difference is found in colors of socks. White, which is popular here, is frowned upon by Western businessmen. For them, this color is for sports, not business. If you’re thinking that white keeps the foot cooler in our hot weather,
foot doctors say “no.” The sock color makes no difference, hot or cold, once the foot is inside the shoe.
On the other hand, the
impression created by accessories such as fine watche
While you’re speaking, you want to be heard and listened to, and that brings us to our last point. And, that is your Voice.
Voice. What a wonderful tool! Did you know that the tone of your voice, its pitch, speed and clarity all contribute to making a good impression? It’s so true. When you begin to speak, many times, listeners become interested in a speaker’s words just because it’s so obvious that the speaker is very interested and enthusiastic about his topic.
Also helpful is speaking in a natural flow of words, sometimes
slowly, sometimes quickly, then loudly and other times softly. These tactic
9. REVIEW OF
So by following these suggestions, I hope you are on your way to making a good impression on your first try – because it IS impossible to get a second chance to make a good first impression.
Let’s review for a minute about our main points of making a good impression at your next presentation. Actually, it was how to make a good FIRST impression in the way you look, what you say, and how you move. We learned about posture, clothes, tone and volume of voice.
And, how they contribute to the impression that you make on your audience. We called it “initial credibility.” And we discovered that all of these are not just “Minor Details.”
these are directly related to how effectively you communicate your intended
message. And, how well you are
evaluated by your boss, customer
10. GESTURES and BODY MOVEMENTS
EFFECTIVE METHOD OF STANDING
“I don’t know what to do with my hands!”
How many times have I heard this from colleagues at work, executives I’ve coached and university students I’ve taught? It’s so many I’ve lost count. What to do?
The answer is found in the way you stand.
Instead of facing your audience straight
on [ what I call “facing flat”] directly with the
full front of your body, leg
Let me explain. If you are listening at home, stand up and face a lamp or the TV or the radio your listening to right now. If your in your car, try to imagine the scene.
Here’s what you can do to follow my method:
Stand with the toes of your left foot directly toward the audience, and place your right foot at a 90-degree angle behind your left one. You can do the same using the opposite feet (put your left foot in front and your right foot behind). If 90-degrees is not comfortable for you, you can decrease the angle. But try not to decrease to less than 75-degrees.
OK. Now, look at your hand
You can do the same if you prefer to have your right foot in front and your left foot behind. The procedure would still be the same.
Now, what are the benefits of using my method of
standing? The first you have already
seen. Your hand
In contrast, when you stand
“flat” to the audience with your body directly facing the people, your arm
My method makes the uncertainty and awkwardness disappear.
Keep standing. The next benefits will become clear.
If you use note cards, you can keep them the hand that is resting on your back leg out of the way and less distracting. The hand in front can be used effectively for gestures. Or, the hand in back can be used to point at the projection screen.
benefit of this standing tactic also eliminate
11. GESTURES (Kinesics) – ENUMERATION
In addition, you can add power to
your words by using your hands to emphasize meaning. For example, showing three fingers and then using them one
by one to count out points 1st, 2nd, 3rd
12. PROXEMICS – MOVE CLOSER TO AUDIENCE to make your point (and you) more powerful
Just as you can manipulate your voice from loud to soft or fast to slow to emphasize and idea, you can walk closer to your audience when you talk about important information (this relationship between the closeness or farness you to the audience, or the arrangement of seating or tables is called Proxemics). Move closer and the facts become more important. Moving back will open a wider perspective, a range of eye contact and the opportunity to open the presentation to discussion or questions. The impression that this tactics communicates is that you are in control of the flow of information and the entire action of the presentation.
There are other effects of PROXEMICS (regarding standing and sitting, the setup of the room, the relationship between people, people and furniture, and several other relationships – but this factor is most important for a PRESENTER.
These examples of Kinesic
KINESICS -- FINAL POINT.
Be natural, of course.
But, just the right gesture, (or proxemics) at just the right time,
connected to just the right word
will really capture the attention of your audience.
A few words of caution, however, especially when you are speaking to an audience of mostly foreign, non-Arab business people. Gestures, as you may realize, can get you into trouble if you do not consider the cross-cultural aspects of them.
For example, the common hand
Same Gesture. Different
Meanings. Based on Culture
Based on Culture and Environment.
Finally, remember that you can only have one chance to make a first impression – so make a it a good one.
A careful review of these items long before the day of your presentation, will help you to create the best impression you can the first time . . . because you never have a second chance to make a first impression.