At the age of twenty one I started a joinery company, being a driven and fast learner I had fast tracked my apprenticeship and my boss at the time was very supportive, he encouraged me to open a joinery workshop, he could see the drive and passion I had to be successful.
One of the biggest challenges I faced as a young business owner was being taken seriously, I would often have new customers walk into the workshop asking if the boss was around, I would explain that it was my company, this would always create a look of surprise and skepticism.
For a while I felt like I was playing at a disadvantage, how was I going to be taken seriously and build my business, if the first thought a person had when they walked in the door was ‘there is no way this guy knows what he is doing’.
I learnt very early on, in order to be successful in business I needed to be able command authority, create the impression of a leader, and non-verbally let people know that I had the knowledge and was able to help. I needed them to trust that they were in good hands.
What I have discovered is that this doesn’t just apply in that hybrid phase between adolescence and adulthood, this ability to instantly create a positive perception is a fundamental skill that is used your entire life.
Fast forward to today, every time I walk on the stage I know I am being analysed against an internal checklist, I have a room full of eyeballs decoding what they see to decide if they want to listen or not.
Your ability to win someone over in those first few moments is critical, it’s like being given a head start in a race, if you can nail the first few moments you will influence the entire interaction.
"Your ability to win someone over in those first few moments is critical"
So let me ask you this....
Do you ever feel like people aren’t taking you seriously?
Do you sometimes feel that you send out the wrong message?
Have you ever walked into a meeting, or greeted a client and instantly you could tell their internal dialogue was downgrading you?
I'm going to share 3 key ideas that I started implementing back when I was twenty one that changed the game, just a few simple changes to my actions and behaviour transformed what people initially thought and the way they responded towards me.
1 - Body Language
I think it goes without saying that we assume a lot about someone just by the way that they hold themselves. Someone who is confident will normally have the appearance of taking up space their posture will be one of strength and stability. If you greet a client or walk in to a room stooped or hunched over you will look defeated before the game has even started.
Look, there is a fine line here between standing strong/stable and coming across as arrogant. A cool technique I think you will find really helpful in finding the balance between strength and arrogance, (it might be a little woo woo but just go with it) is to imagine you are sending out good vibes from your chest area and trying to project them in to the world. Anyone who grew up in the 80’s that can remember the Care Bears cartoon will remember the magical, energy sending ability.
2 - Take Control
You need to be the one moving forward and instigating the hello, show them that you are confident. In those first few moments what we are trying to say (without words) is....‘Hey, you can trust me’ and nothing kills trust faster than a lack of confidence. If its one person or a small group, you need to move towards them, if its a small meeting don’t sneak in and hide, if its walking on a stage for a presentation move towards the front of the stage area.
I am going to assume you are talking to small groups or one-on-one and give you a breakdown of the process....
Step 1 - Move towards the person or group
Step 2 - Make eye contact (with everyone if its a small group)
Step 3 - Extend hand to shake and greet (if its a group make eye contact with person’s hand you are going to shake as you offer your hand)
This may sound like I am teaching the obvious, and it is obvious, sometimes because it is so obvious we forget to do it. I like to people watch a lot at conferences, watching people network fascinates me, you can tell a lot about an interaction dynamic and who has the position of power just by the way they approach each other.
3 - Speak With Certainty
As I have already mentioned, in those first few moments we are trying to establish trust, when your thoughts turn in to a sound that leaves your lips you need to deliver those words with certainty, you need to sound sure in yourself. This certainty comes from practise, it comes from believing in yourself and knowing that you are there to connect and help others.
When a client walked in to the workshop, I would approach with a posture of stability sending out my energy of good vibes, I would make eye contact, hold my hand out ready to greet, I would then introduce myself and ask them a question.
Never again was I asked if the boss was around or judged because of my age, I made a conscious decision to change the way I was perceived by making a few small changes.
What has been your biggest takeaway from this blog?
What changes could you make that would change the way people perceive you and boost your influence?
I would love to hear your thoughts, any challenges you have faced in the past or currently facing.
Thanks for dropping by,
Anthony Laye - Behaviour Expert // Mentalist // Speaker
P.S Did you know I have written an AWESOME book and produced a couple of AMAZING online courses to build your confidence and help you stand out win trust and influence. You should definitely check them out.... CLICK HERE
Before you go - I have a 9 week online program that will turn you in to a networking rockstar, you can find out more by clicking here.