How professional are you? How to make a good first impression

Ever wondered what kind of a first impression you make to clients or the impression you strike externally as the face of your own business? We guide you on how to be more professional.

Your business is your brand. Ever wondered what kind of a first impression you make to clients or the impression you strike externally as the face of your own business? Much of this can actually be attributed to small factors that contribute towards your overall outward perception. To find out, ask yourself the following questions and consider the suggestions on how you can improve in each area.

Are you…

… Always on time?

Being late to an important meeting is an absolute no! It looks careless and unprofessional. To be sure that your watch isn’t leading you on when it comes to telling the time with confidence, buy carefully. A smart, classic timepiece from a reputable brand such as Omega will always reassure you that your interpretation of time is the right one. As well, sporting an elegant watch gives off a positive outward impression to your business associates.

How to improve

Be realistic about your timings. Very often, people are late to things because they underestimate how long it will take to get ready or travel to the meeting point. To remedy this, give every task you have to complete in the morning 15 minutes more than you think it will take, whether this is getting ready, eating breakfast or travelling to the destination. That way, you’ll have plenty of time to spare and arrive less rushed and harassed

… A good communicator?

Sometimes a client or customer just needs to vent their worries. When it comes to handling a conflict or concern, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Be delicate when it comes to handling customer conflicts – an angry word spoken out of turn will do a lot more harm than good and tarnish your reputation to boot. If you struggle with keeping your cool under pressure, find a yoga or meditation class in your area to practice the art of calm.

How to improve

Be respectful if a client feels aggrieved. Communication is a two-way deal and there is definitely a time to speak up but also a time to listen. To master this, be aware that you don’t dominate any discussions and ensure that everyone is consulted before any decisions are made. Your clients and associates will be likely to return to do business with you if they think their concerns are being taken seriously.

… Able to handle conflicts (and learn from them?)

It can be hard not to feel attacked when something goes wrong and you carry the brunt of the blame, although admitting that you’re not perfect and being willing to learn from past mistakes carries no shame. In fact, your clients will respect you more for holding your hands up and calmly fixing the mistake.

Maintaining a positive attitude will give off the best impression possible and shows that you are professional and mature enough to handle constructive criticism.

How to improve

Learn from your experiences and then act on that knowledge in the future! If one client has an issue with the way you handled one particular aspect of a project, take their comments on board along with the knowledge that there’s no shame in a little positive readjustment – after all, your business is constantly evolving and growing and a learning curve along the way is inevitably part of this journey.

… A leader?

Finally – and perhaps most important of all – having strong leadership abilities is vital for mastering professionalism in the workplace. Being the figurehead that associates and colleagues can rely on and have faith in is key to your whole operation going forward as expected, so don’t forget to assert yourself (professionally) at all times.

How to improve

Maybe you didn’t quite meet the scientific criteria for the leadership formula, but don’t worry, there are other ways to steer your ship in the right direction. 4am starts, anyone? Thankfully, there are other ways to show your strength. Be assertive, but fair.

Keep a cool head in heated situations, always uphold your promises and always embrace networking and partnerships with others wherever they arise, in order to collaborate creatively and lighten the burden of solo management responsibilities.

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

Related Topics

Female founders