You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression

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The happiest conversation is that of which nothing is distinctly remembered, but a general effect of pleasing impression. -Samuel Johnson

This quote shows how much first impressions in a professional capacity are all about selling “the whole package” — that is, you.

Many professionals agree that during a first impression, vocal inflection and nonverbal cues make just as much of an impact as what you’re saying – if not more. Now this isn’t to say that the content of your pitch doesn’t matter; but if you aren’t confident of what you’re saying, how can you expect a potential employer to believe you?

This is especially relevant when we are considering our elevator pitches. As important as the information we are saying is, we must also remember that we are doing more than just spitting out our resume line-by-line. Some key ways to improve how you present yourself include good posture, a solid handshake, eye contact, strong (but not too strong) voice volume, positive tone, and even a sense of humor. Allow your new acquaintance/potential employer/colleague to see that you can perform under pressure.

Most importantly, make a personal connection. This is the first step to building a solid relationship. Whether it’s a fun fact about yourself, or a shared experience you two might have in common, the best way to ensure you are remembered is by saying something that sticks.

For more information, check out SitePoint‘s take on the importance of having a powerful elevator pitch in your professional tool belt.