Have you ever met someone that you just know you will always remember? Not in a stalker-ish, weird kinda way – just the kind of person that leaves an impression?
I met one on Friday. It was just a boring business meeting about insurance. And yet I am still thinking about this guy,let’s call him Ronald (because how many Ronald’s are there out there?).
He was no Channing Tatum, and he didn’t arrive in a pressed white shirt and bright red tie. He didn’t do a mind-blowing power-point presentation, he didn’t crack a single joke, nor did he turn on an ounce of charm. I’m baffled. Usually it’s face-melting charm that impresses. Or sense of humour or fantastic good looks. Or heaps of money.
It’s been bugging me all weekend.
So I’ve noted a few things that stood out, and I think these three are a great starting point to creating your own good impressions:
1. Ronald was friendly and confident
He smiled the right kind of smile, and firmly shook each of our hands. He was warm, polite, not overbearing. His confidence was quiet and firm, not loud and arrogant. He had nothing to prove, and was just there to offer a service that we needed. This is a quality that I would love to learn: The belief that I have something amazing to offer. I know it’s amazing, and soon you will too. I won’t need fireworks to show you; you will just know once we are finished here. I can be myself, because what I am going to offer does not depend on who I am; the offer I am presenting is amazing in itself.
2. Ronald made eye contact at the right time
When Ronald was addressing Margery (because how many Margery’s are there out there), Ronald looked at Margery. When Ronald was addressing me, he looked into my eyes. When he was addressing the group, he looked around, nodded at relevant people in acknowledgement of what they were saying. By doing so, he ‘gave importance’ to each person in the room, and at the end of the meeting, we all left the boardroom with a firm sense of trust in place.
3. Ronald paid attention
Not only did Ronald pay attention to every word that was said, and respond to each query impeccably, he paid attention to body language, facial expressions and subtle glances. At one point, Margery said something slightly ironic. I don’t think she intended to, or even knew that her comment had a funny side, because she just kept on talking. In that second, Ronald glanced at me, and I at him, and we both knew that we had both caught the unintended joke. His eyes sparkled a bit, and a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. It lasted a second and then we both composed ourselves and carried on listening. As fleeting as the moment was, it has stayed with me, because Ronald missed nothing in that moment. I suspect he must be an introvert, and possibly even a perfectionist, because that’s how we are: very little escapes us. Ronald just knows how to use it to his advantage: he used the opportunity to make a personal connection with at least one person in the room.
So if you don’t have money to impress, or an Armani suit and Rolex watch, it’s ok. If you’re not equipped with a smoke-and-mirror presentation, complete with song and dance, that’s ok too. If you’re not drop-dead gorgeous, and maybe you’ve got a bit of a belly, even then you’re ok. I’d recommend a few sit-up’s, but it shouldn’t affect your business dealings with potential clients.
You see, I walked away from this meeting feeling good. And that is powerful tool in the business world. So, in summary, here are three uber-simple presentation lessons that I’ve learned from Ronald that I thought I would share with you:
- Quiet confidence & personal warmth – by the way, confidence is best boosted by knowing your product inside and out.
- Appropriate eye contact – but don’t be weird about it, dudes.
- Pay attention to the little things – this is a surprising way to delight people… which is worth far more than wearing a rolex watch in a boardroom.