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Welcome to the WISE newsletter, a program of
The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University

Friday, May 20, 2005

10 seconds

Aretha Franklin, in her song RESPECT, sings:
Find out what it means to me
Take care, TCB.
It takes about ten (10) seconds to sing that. Just 10 seconds.

It also takes 10 seconds for you to make a first impression on someone you just meet. Just 10 seconds.

We often think that we have several minutes to make a first impression. When you engage someone in conversation at a business event, don't you generally take a couple of minutes to talk to that person? Or at least a minute (or so) to exchange your 30-second "elevator speech?" No, as it turns out, our minds (or our subconscious according the book Blink) makes a decision much more quickly.

So how can you make the most of your 10 seconds?

First, have a great introduction (elevator speech) that explains what you do in a way that is understandable to your listener.

Second, remember that you are more than just your words. In Enhance Your Image Overnight, Stephanie Bickel give tips for coming across as relaxed and professional. Tip #4 is to listen. As we are reminded, we have two ears and only one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak. (Listening is indeed an important skill when talking with prospective clients or even those who could provide a referral. We need to listen to their needs and concerns, then provide information about our services in response to them.)

Bickel's Tip #8 (simplify your gestures) is one that we need to remember, especially since we often use more gestures when we get nervous or are trying to make an important point.

A tip found elsewhere is to practice. Practice talking about yourself and your business (the elevator speech). Practice your networking skills. Practice those things Bickel mentions. Practice and rehearse until it become natural.

Remember 10 seconds to impress your listener and earn their respect. Make the most of them!


Blogger Sue T. said...

Hi Jill! I love this post, it's very good. In the other network you asked that we post tips and techniques to make a 10 second impression. I used to greet at a networking event here in N.J. I am a social butterfly myself. My job was to make everyone else feel comfortable, or at least this is what I told myself :) My tip is to pretend that you are the host, greet the people you meet warmly, shake their hand ask what they do, introduce them to the other individuals you may already be talking to, make them feel included. Not only do you alleviate any butterflies you may have, but you make others feel more comfortable as well.

Sue T.

11:47 PM  

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