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Impress Me! 4 Ways Southeast Asian Entrepreneurs Do It Instantly

Make the first few moments count

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BY Marishka M. Cabrera - 10 Oct 2016

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Southeast Asian entrepreneurs are no stranger to events or situations where first impressions are critical. Whether meeting potential clients, investors, or partners for the first time, it is important they always leave a good impression. This can determine whether they want to get to know you better or avoid you like the plague.

Here are four things to keep in mind:

1. Dress up

Being mindful of your appearance goes a long way. Therence John Resabal, founder and CEO of Philippine-based software development firm Spectres.Solutions, suggests wearing a suit and tie when meeting people since the decision-makers are usually baby boomers, who are more formal in professional settings.

“Being a millennial entrepreneur is tough because not everyone takes you seriously, so dressing up gives me leverage and control during negotiations,” he says. “If I notice that my client isn’t wearing a suit and a tie, I take [mine off] to reflect symmetry or to show that we share something in common, like how to dress up.”

2. Be aware of your body language

According to an Inc.com story, experts acknowledge that body language accounts for the majority, perhaps up to 90 percent, of communication. It adds that based on psychological studies most people translate behavior such as crossing the arms or legs, furrowing the brow, or raising the eyebrows as being closed off. Standing or sitting tall, on the other hand, is typically translated as confidence, while leaning in is usually interpreted as interest.

Resabal says, “I try not to cross my arms for it could be interpreted as closed-mindedness.” Instead he keeps his hands open to show friendliness and open-mindedness.

3. Mind your manners

Particularly upon first acquaintance, people are often judged by how well mannered (or crass) they are. But one need not go to finishing school to perfect this art because it can be as simple as saying “please” or “thank you” or holding the door for the person behind you. These acts of politeness and graciousness will give others the impression that you are somebody they can trust, whether at work or in their personal life.

4. Pay attention

No one likes to converse with someone who seems distracted. Make people feel that they are being listened to by engaging in the conversation, even if it is just small talk. This is a reflection of your ability to value other people and not take them for granted.

Resabal says he maintains eye contact when talking to people and patiently waits for the person to finish speaking to indicate that he is listening and that he empathizes with them.