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Personal Presentation

First Impressions Count!

Wherever you are; at work, at the dentist, on the tube, you are on show and someone somewhere is sussing you out. In a couple of seconds, someone has just looked you up and down, listened to how you talk and then made an assessment of who they think you are. Based on these assumptions, that person will determine how they treat you until you change their perception. This may be to your benefit or to your detriment, so tread carefully when you first meet a new employer.

Be on time

It is just good manners to turn up or call when you say you will. To me, it seems that over the past twenty years, UK businesses have started relaxing their approach to punctuality. Don't fall into this trap. You want to be known for your great work, not for your slack approach to time-keeping. If you have an external meeting, write down the address you need to get to, work out the best form of transport to use, and then work backwards to establish what time you should leave in order to arrive on time. If you arrive early, treat yourself to a coffee.

Dress smartly

A very rich ex-boss of mine once said his approach to business was, "Dress British, Think Yiddish!" I think this is a good approach to business. Dress in a non-offensive British style and negotiate in a typically Jewish fashion. That way it's hard to get it wrong.

Again, a little attention to your personal hygiene will be well-received by your co- workers. Basic showering, teeth cleaning and combing your locks go a long way. Combine this with actually dry-cleaning or ironing the clothes you choose to wear and you'll be ready for anything. Remember that people buy people like them. So, dress like the people you are trying to win over.

Pay attention

We are all reliant on technology - PCs, mobile phones, laptops, iPads, tablets etc. However, none of them are as important as the colleague, client or employer you are talking to. When you are in a meeting, be present.

Keep Smiling

Smiling will get you through most situations, so ensure your dental hygiene is impeccable. I'm always surprised at how many executives I know who earn a six- figure salary have the most appalling teeth and halitosis. If you invest in your clothing hair-cuts and technology for work, then spend a few minutes each day taking care of your teeth. Once all is in order, use this asset to win friends and disarm your enemies.

Control your body language

How many times has your boss been smiling and talking at you with dead eyes? It happens all the time; people are saying one thing but their body is telling you something completely different. Pay attention to other people's reactions and learn to control yours.

I once had a new boss and every time he spoke, I yawned. I had no idea I was doing it until he pointed it out one day in the middle of a team meeting. I thought it was hilarious because my inner self was obviously reacting to having an inexperienced Marketing Director being awarded the task of leading a sales operation he knew nothing about. I also realised how offensive I was being without even trying. Since then, unless I actively want to relay my feelings, I keep everything controlled.

You can also use your body language to distract the people you are negotiating with. This should be a subtle distraction so they don't realise that you are doing anything to distract them. Women find it easier to do this; gently twirling their hair, playing with diamond rings, or wearing a bra that makes it impossible not to notice their breasts. I've seen men do the same by displaying expensive watches, adjusting their crotches and even wearing foundation and eyeliner! Some of these techniques aren't for everyone so choose carefully.

Be happy!

Sales people need to be resilient. We are rejected multiple times each month but we still have to get up and contact another client to hit our sales goals. The only way you'll hit that next commission target is by shaking off the last deal and moving forward with a spring in your step. Staying positive, networking with your peers and clients will put you in the right frame of mind to spot that next big deal.

To find out more about our training courses and one-to-one career coaching, simply call us on 020 8123 8169.

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