Rules for first-time meetings

If you are meeting a business contact for the very first time, ensure that you make the best possible impression. Follow this advice:

Turn your phone off. Take it out and let the person see you turn it off. It signals that you are 100 percent focused on the meeting, and that shows tremendous respect for the other person.

Don’t ask for something too early. If it’s a sales meeting, don’t rush to close the deal. If you are networking, don’t ask the person for a favor. During the first meeting, focus on learning about the other person, sharing information about yourself and discovering if the professional relationship is worth pursing for both of you.

Let the other person run the meeting. If you are driving the discussion and doing all the talking, the other person may get frustrated. Ask questions to spark the conversation, and then truly listen to what the other person is saying.

— Adapted from “The Do’s and Don’ts of a First Meeting,” Matt Goldman, Business2Community,

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