Power Conversation: Making a Good First Impression (Part 1 of 3)

Power ConversationHow would it feel to be able to do the following?:

  • Start a conversation without fear
  • Have more confidence when speaking to someone
  • Make a memorable first impression
  • Build a lasting relationship
  • Be a successful global businessperson

I covered these topics and more in a recent seminar I gave to about 10 hungry Tokyoites looking to “level up” their English conversation and become global businesspeople. Would you like to know what we talked about? Here’s a quick summary.

What is “Power Conversation”?

This is a term we came up with to characterize the topics listed above. Here is a more concise definition that I used:

Power conversation – An honest and meaningful conversation between two people that has powerful, beneficial effects throughout and afterwards.

Doing business in today’s global environment seems like a huge task but just like any business deal, it all starts with a relationship. Most relationships start with a conversation. And most conversations start with a greeting and handshake. THIS is where we need to make a good first impression.

Handshake Bootcamp

Bootcamp – An intense, short period of training
Handshake Bootcamp

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I use the term “handshake bootcamp” to describe how I teach how to shake hands. I know it seems like a simple or unnecessary topic but it is in fact a very important step in the relationship process. Especially in Japan, where native people almost never shake hands (they bow instead), it is essential that they learn the basics in order to make a good impression with people from all around the globe. To keep it simple, I mention 2 key points:

  1. Make Eye Contact and maintain it
  2. Give a Firm hand shake

Making eye contact is very important in western culture because it creates trust and shows that you have confidence in yourself. At the seminar, I learned from my students that in Japan, making eye contact can sometimes mean disrespect and that avoiding eye contact with superiors is the right thing to do. Interesting to note the differences.

Firm Handshake

“Firm” means “tight” or “solid” so when we shake hands, we want to make sure it is firm and NOT weak. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Giving a weak handshake indicates weakness in your personality and can mean the difference in getting a business opportunity and losing an opportunity. Do not waste a good business opportunity by giving a weak handshake! If you remember to do these two things, I guarantee that you will make a great first impression.

These are the basics for making a good first impression. In my next post in the “Power Conversation” series, we will take a look at how to start a conversation with confidence and maintain it. Be sure to check back for the next post or enter your email address in the “Get Regular Updates” box below and you will automatically be notified when that post comes out!

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