It’s no secret that first impressions often set the tone for future social interactions. That’s why they’re so important. This holds true for both personal meetings, like a first date, and professional meetings, like a job interview. In the professional world, the first impression we most value is usually the one we make with a new supervisor, but the ones we make with new or potential clients are just as important.
In Bill Taylor’s recent article, “Who Do You Sound Like?”, written for the New Jersey Law Journal, he asks lawyers to think about who they sound like when speaking to potential clients. As he points out in the opening paragraph, potential clients spend the entirety of that first meeting filing away what the lawyer says and does into pros and cons to eventually label the lawyer as “qualified”, “not qualified”, or “unsure”. Taylor places particular importance on being knowledgeable and empathic about the clients and their unique situations, and asking the right questions. If the client’s needs don’t play to the lawyer’s strengths, Taylor suggests that referring the client to a colleague might be a good idea.
While the article focuses on lawyers and different considerations that should be made depending on the type of client, there is valuable advice for people in any business. You want to present yourself as the person who will be most compatible with the client you are trying to obtain. Empathy and knowledge are important skills in any field of business, and build trusting relationships. With that trust, you can have more seamless collaborations and be more productive. If that first meeting isn’t positive, you may miss out on all of the benefits of a great working relationship. “Who Do You Sound Like?” appeared in the February 22nd edition of the New Jersey Law Journal or can be read online with a subscription.