Big Impressions

6 Little Things That Make Big Impressions

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Recently, I was in a department store; one of those large stores with an entrance that has a breezeway door and then another door that actually enters the store. As I was leaving, a man walking directly in front of me opened the door to leave, dropping it right on me. He did the same thing with the second door. I was walking pretty close behind him, so it’s hard to believe he didn’t notice me. Just as I began judging him on his rudeness, I realized he had been intently looking at his cell phone, was clearly distracted, and probably had no idea I was behind him.

This is a classic example of how our overly busy, distracted worlds keep us from seizing opportunities to become memorable. And, when we want to meet thought leaders, build professional relationships, and strengthen our brands, memorable is definitely what we want to be!

So, what can you do to create big impressions and become memorable? Simple – pay attention! After all, it’s the little things that very few people think to do, that will get you there.

Pay Attention To How You Enter A Room

Show a physical confidence when you enter a room. Walk tall, keep your head up and actually look around at others. Pay attention from the minute you enter the room to the time you leave. Acknowledge others with a smile, a nod, and a hello. Hold the door open for others and offer to assist another person if you see they may be struggling.

Pay Attention To How You Dress

Nothing makes a more powerful first impression than the way a person looks. It is human nature for us to make judgments about someone by what our eyes see, long before what our ears hear. This is why it is so important to pay attention to your appearance. When you get dressed in the morning, think about what your day might bring; who might you meet, run into or connect with? Then, dress accordingly.

Regardless of the situation, wear clothing, shoes, and accessories that are in good condition. Make certain your hair is neat and you look presentable. You don’t need to look like you just walked out of a fashion catalog; simply be aware and use good judgment.

Pay Attention To How You Speak To Others

Think about how you talk to other people. Of course, most of us are much more casual when we speak to family and friends. However, when you are in a business or social setting meeting and talking to others you do not know well, pay attention to your language. Avoid slang, be articulate and most important of all, listen to the other person. Listening and using eye contact truly tells the other person that you care about and acknowledge what they are saying.

Pay Attention To How You Introduce Yourself And Others

A handshake makes a more significant impression than you might think. When you meet someone new, be the first to extend your hand, smile, introduce yourself, and maintain eye contact. This shows you care, you are interested and you are happy to invite this person into your world. Repeat their name and ask for clarification if you are unsure of pronunciation.

When in the situation of introducing two people, always introduce the individual with the lesser title/age, and so on… TO the individual with the higher title/age, and so on… first. For example, if you are introducing a CEO to a new employee, introduce the new employee to the CEO first. “Mr/Ms. CEO, I would like to introduce TO YOU, Ms. new employee.”

Pay Attention To How You Exchange Business Cards

Exchanging business cards is an art. Your business cards should be in stellar condition. To keep them that way, always carry them in a case. Never put them in a wallet, pocket, purse, etc… When handing someone your business card, hold it with both hands and turn the card so YOU are reading it upside down. This assures that the person receiving the card can immediately read what is on your card.

When receiving someone’s card, always read it and make a nice comment or question about the information on the card. This is your opportunity to make a quick connection with this person. It also shows that you care and respect the person who you have met. Upon finishing reading and discussing the card, place it in your business card case. This shows that you have respect for this person and the very important document they chose to give you.

Pay Attention To How You Drive

My mother once told me you can tell what a person’s house looks like by the condition of their car. And, I believe how a person drives their car also tells you a lot about their personality. So, ask yourself these questions: Do I use my turn signals? Do I keep my car in good condition? Do I stay out of the left lane unless I’m passing? Do I keep a safe distance behind the car in front of me?

These are all questions related to being polite and courteous to others. So, the next time you get behind the wheel, think about how your driving habits are making you memorable.

These are six simple suggestions that will help set you apart. So, the next time you venture out to the grocery store, garden center or even work, pay attention to these little things and practice them. Before you know it they will become habit and you will become memorable.


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Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson

Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson is the Coordinator of Career & Professional Development at Spring Hill College where she helps students transition from student to professional. She is also in the process of starting her own consulting business where she works with businesses and individuals on professional etiquette, branding, and image consulting.

2 comments

  1. These are all too true. I have been attending many networking events where I live and work. The more I pay attention to these points, the better I am received, the more leads I collect, and the better the overall experience.

    I’ve learned my lesson with paying attention to how I drive. Several years ago, I was on my way to work and was running late and was driving like a crazy person to get to work on time. I cut someone off to whip my large vehicle into the parking lot. I made it on time, yes. The next person to walk into the door? The same person I cutoff. Oops. I’ve never made that mistake again.

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