Do You Create A Good First Impression?

November 13, 2013

Do you create a good first impression?SCENARIO: A new client based in a home office, initial meeting.  Let’s call him John.  I walk in, shake his hand and gratefully accept his offer of coffee (we all need coffee!).

He takes me through to his office and says he will be back in a minute with our coffee.  He doesn’t take me into the kitchen, good move.

As I wait for him to return I take a quick look around.  Desk piled high with paperwork and a thick layer of dust, a washing basket brimming with clothes sits in the corner and a vacuum cleaner waits on the floor, ready for action.

What impression have I formed? 

John is quite possibly a savvy, successful business owner, this article does not address that. What I am covering today is the actual impression people form as they step into your office; be that a home office or commercial premises.

This scenario never happened, imagine a poor client reading this article thinking OMG she’s actually talking about me!   This scenario does happen though, and while as a client of John’s I’m inclined not to worry too much, if I was looking at engaging his services I would now think twice.

When someone comes into your home office you need to work harder at creating that first impression than if you work from commercial offices.  It’s important that your visitor feels;

  • at ease
  • comfortable in your home
  • confident that you are the professional they’re looking to engage
  • assured you are organised, capable and care

If they are trusting you with their business or, as a supplier prepared to work hard for you; then the impression you create goes a long way towards how your working relationship will unfold.

Your office should be:

  • clean
  • clearly a business space (no washing!)
  • a tidy desk surface
  • pin board or white board with no offensive images (it does happen!)
  • a place for your visitor to sit without feeling crowded
  • pet free

You should:

  • be dressed professionally
  • put them at ease
  • offer them a beverage (be hospitable)

Your premises should:

  • have a tidy entrance way
  • be weed free as they walk up to your house
  • have bedroom and toilet doors shut
  • have TV off
  • not have loud music playing
  • be tidy inside

These same principles apply if you’re working from a commercial office space but it’s absolutely critical if you are inviting someone into your home office.  A visitor coming to a private residence needs to feel they are in a professional setting.

With these guidelines followed, there is no reason why your meetings or appointments won’t be as successful as you are.  If circumstances mean it’s difficult to maintain a professional environment there’s no reason why you can’t meet in a cafe or shared office space.


Your Turn: Have you formed a negative impression based on a first impression?  Did this change over the course of your relationship?

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  • disqus_W4KjfaOksA says:

    I’m glad you said John was fictional. I thought you might be talking about me, but, then again, you haven’t been to my office. Personally, I think the cafe down the road makes a much better meeting place.

    • I’m just glad your name isn’t John Andrew! Totally agree that cafes are a better meeting place though if you’re sitting down with a client for a couple of hours to go through their work, sometimes a (tidy) home office is a good option.

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