Making The Perfect First Impression In A Business Meeting: A How-To Guide

make perfect first impression business meeting professional clothing

Making the right first impression can be a nervy affair, right? We’ve all been there. It could have been meeting your partner’s parents for the first time or attending an interview for your dream job. Getting off on the right foot is crucial. Did you know that it takes an average of seven seconds for someone to make their judgement on you? That’s not long at all, is it? 

Here, we will walk you through just how you should make your perfect opening impression in those all- important business meetings. 

Be Punctual 

Your clients will have a busy schedule so make sure you don’t waste vital moments by not being punctual. If your meeting is planned for a set time, turn up early. America’s former president, Eisenhower, was famous for his ‘when to arrive for a meeting’ philosophy, which meant that if you weren’t 10 minutes early for the meeting, then you were late. 

Being early can also avoid placing unnecessary stress on your shoulders as you can get used to your surroundings. This can be crucial if you need to present to your potential clients. 

Dress Appropriately

Dressing appropriately may sound like an obvious statement, but the right outfit really can help you go a long way. After all, if the shoe was on the other foot, do you think you would pay attention and sign a contract if the person standing in front of you was unkept? Probably not, so steer clear of those Converse trainers and ripped jeans — it’s important to dress like the professional you are trying to portray yourself as. 

If you’re a man, be sure to look looking clean and crisp throughout your outfit. There are many men’s suits available that, when paired with the right shoes, will give the impression that you are proud of your appearance and are likely to take pride in your client’s needs, too. Women can also benefit from tailored clothing that feature conservative colours and patterns. For example, dark grey or navy should be staple colours in your outfit choice. 

Body Language 

Again, while it should be second nature, many people overlook the importance of body language. Be sure to smile, shake everyone’s hand who is in the meeting and keep good eye contact. Smiling will put potential clients at ease, offering a warm impression of yourself, while firmly shaking hands can command respect. Keeping eye contact portrays you as a positive person, while those who avoid eye contact can sometimes be seen as being ‘shifty’ or rude — not ideal for a business meeting! 


It’s vital you don’t mumble. Nobody likes needing to continuously ask what it was you said. If this happens, your client could become frustrated, which will take away from all the good that may occur in your meeting. Having an accent won’t matter as long as you are clearly annunciating your words. 

It’s easier to get your point across when you speak clearly and it will make your meeting run more smoothly and, let’s face it, the smoother the meeting, the more likely you are to land that elusive deal! It also allows you to build a relationship via small talk. Again, speaking clearly enables this to happen, as if they don’t understand you, they won’t engage. 

Vehicle Choice 

Were you are that first impressions can sometimes begin before you even walk through the door? We’ve all heard of stereotypes revolving around certain types of car, but did you ever think about how this may affect any potential business deals? Audis are often stereotypically linked to businessmen and women, meaning that those who drive an Audi E Tron are thought to be in the business industry. This can have a positive impact on any potential clients who see you pull up! 

You Only Get One Chance To Make A First Impression...

So, there’s a quick five-step plan that can help you land that crucial business deal. Remember, don’t drive a ‘boy-racer’ style car to your meeting, arrive early, dress snappy, be open and friendly, and make sure everyone can understand you! Master these points and you’ll have a great chance of getting the result you are looking for.

The Lean Startup Life Media Network Newest Blog Posts: