People need people. – There’s no other way to say it. At some point in life, you may realise that you need to network and work with others in order to make your big dreams a reality. Yet, there are billions of other people who also have dreams. In order to be heard, you need to be seen. First impressions really do count. Here’s how to get it right.

Less is more

Forget the notion that in order to be seen and remembered, you need to shout louder, dress bolder, smell like a skunk or do something outrageous. Truth is you don’t need to look like a public clown in order to be remembered. Less can be more. You just need knowledge of what really counts.

Don’t – we repeat – Don’t wing it

Before you meet someone (like a funder, judge, company CEO, mentor…etc), find out as much as you can about them. Know their area of expertise, what they like, where they studied and their personality type. Based on the kind of person that they are, plan your first line in advance. Don’t “go with the flow”. Prepare in advance. Be present, listen and cut out distractions.

Sing praises and affirm them

Before you get ideas, it is important to note that this has to be sincere if you are indeed going to make that first impression count. If the person recently won an award or is particularly good at their craft, give them a specific comment that shows you did your research. Make it short and sincere. People have a way of seeing through meaningless words.

Be specific and/or targeted

For example, you can say, “congratulations on your creative product launch on Friday; it was a rather unusual platform to launch your crafty gadget” or “I’ve been really looking forward to seeing you; if Monday’s newspaper report and your peers are right about your great leadership skills, this is going to be a life changing meeting for me.”

Even with all the tips, sometimes you will get it right and other days things won’t go according to plan. When you do fail to make a great first impression, get back up and learn because that’s the journey of every great entrepreneur in the making. If all else fails or the nerves try to get the better of you, remember the ultimate tip that makes all the difference… Just show up.