Whether it's a sales call, an interview, or chance meeting with someone you may want to know better, there are things you can do to leave a positive and lasting impression. Check out these quotes from executives who give their advice on how to do it.
1. Be comfortable in your own skin first.
"When you're truly comfortable with who you are, you naturally project confidence which people will associate as a positive trait at the time of that first impression."
--Tom Harari, cofounder and CEO of laundry and dry-cleaning service Cleanly.
2. Try to inspire.
"Whenever I meet someone, I set myself the goal that they need to leave the conversation with a new lesson. I believe that a person will remember you if you were able to tell them something new they did not know or see in that way before. It's not if they remember you, but how."
--Leif Abraham, AND CO.cofounder and CEO of freelancing software
3. Be sincere and authentic.
"I always go into each meeting, interview or conversation knowing that whatever impression I make will be a long lasting one. I do my best to be energetic and attentive. No one likes talking to someone who's dull or lacks eye contact. Little things go a long way."
--Jake MVMT.Kassan, cofounder and CEO of direct-to-consumer watch brand
4. Be vulnerable.
"People get so hung up on projecting confidence when they meet new people, that they don't really let them in. Be honest, open, and vulnerable from the first moment you meet someone, and you'll more quickly form the kind of human connection that sticks in their minds. The best client or investor meetings I've had always start with a blunt overview of the challenges ahead."
--Jamie Hodari, cofounder and CEO of national coworking provider Industrious.
5. Be the best possible listener.
"Be as polite as possible, whether it be listening to user feedback, listening to employees' ideas and suggestions, listening to advice from investors and mentors, and listening as much as possible when others are speaking in team meetings. I focus on listening to my teammates at all times for fantastic productivity and team culture."
--Cyril Paglino, cofounder and CEO of video messaging app Tribe.
6. Don't be afraid to fail.
"Starting a company is risky and hard...you've got to be OK with that. Ninety nine percent of startups fail, but that's what makes being an entrepreneur so fun. Rise up to the challenge and work as hard as you possibly can to give whatever you're doing a chance. It doesn't matter if you're starting a data company, or a coffee shop. It takes just as much energy to focus on succeeding, as it does to focus on failing. Inspire yourself with positivity and build a culture of risk takers who take big bets. Positivity is contagious. Be relentless. Work hard and most importantly, have fun."
--Mike Williams, head of product and strategy at food-centric social discovery app Wine n Dine.
7. Always be sure to smile.
"Also, be the first to introduce yourself, ask questions and listen. That means not talking about yourself, but engaging with the other person and allowing them to lead the conversation."
--Dave Rusenko, founder and CEO of Weebly, a website hosting service featuring a drag-and-drop website builder.
8. Focus on the other person.
"I have my most productive first encounters when I demonstrate a sincere interest. It is easy to get caught up in trying to show what I know, what I think, what I am doing and what I have accomplished. We all like to feel understood, and I've found others walk away with a good impression of our first encounter when they feel recognized for what they know, what they think, what they are working on and what they have accomplished."
--Stephanie 1 Atelier.Sarka, CEO of customizable luxury handbag brand
9. Be prepared.
"It sounds easy, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people turn up for an interview without having thoroughly researched the company, the people they are meeting with, and the sector the company operates in. Nothing that is in the public domain makes for a good question in and of itself. Demonstrate knowledge about [these three things] by asking a thoughtful question that already uses these facts. "
--Niccolo de Masi, chairman and CEO of 3D freemium mobile gaming company Glu Mobile.
10. Find a common interest.
"I think that long-lasting, valuable business relationships start much the same way that personal ones do: organically and where there is a good chemistry and desire to stay connected through mutual interest. I use business cards that have photos of interesting places I've been or delicious meals I've eaten. If food or travel comes up in conversation it's easy for me to share a unique and personal story that's relevant, handing over a card and offering to send them a link for the best Salt Beef in NYC, the best G&T in London, or the hotel with the best view in Hong Kong. I prefer to make business networking more personal but these principles work just as well if you're sharing business insights, links to interesting blogs or relevant information about your products or services."
--Richard MOO.Moross, founder and CEO of online printing company