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Make a good first impression in 30 seconds

EXPERT: Ms Zheng gave pointers on the art of conversation and networking at a MyPaper Metropolitan Series workshop.


    Feb 24, 2014

    Make a good first impression in 30 seconds

    THERE is more to dressing for work than meets the eye.

    Donning colours that contrast too heavily - say, black and white - indicates authority, but makes you seem less approachable.

    Similar colours, on the other hand - say, a brown shirt and jacket - make you look meek and unassuming, and "people may not take you seriously", said first-impression trainer Suzenne Zheng, speaking at a MyPaper Metropolitan Series workshop on Saturday.

    Stressing the importance of outfit choice, the founder of First Impressions Image International - which specialises in coaching people on how to make their best first impression - said that mildly contrasting colours are the way to go.

    "A high-contrast outfit stands out too much and is too loud, while a low-contrast outfit just fades away - people may not even remember you," explained Ms Zheng, who was dressed in a pink top, khaki pants and beige jacket at the two-hour workshop.

    The 80-strong audience received many other tips on how to make a good first impression. They also picked up pointers on the art of conversation and networking.

    Held at the MOA New Zealand Bar & Grill at Changi City Point, the $22 workshop - which includes a session on craft beer - also taught participants how to craft an effective self-introduction.

    Her advice? Do not scan the room for people to speak to, do not wing it, do not ramble and do not dominate.

    "You have only 10 to 30 seconds before people form an impression of you, make it count," said Ms Zheng.

    The mother of two became an image-management trainer after getting frustrated with spending money on outfits that did not boost her confidence levels.

    "The exchange of business cards is also essential for networking," added Ms Zheng.

    "Always receive one with both hands and when handing out your business card, make sure it is facing the other person."

    During the session, there was also a demonstration on good and bad posture while speaking.

    "Don't slouch or put your hands in your pocket - these show a lack of confidence," she said. "Guys should stand with their feet apart, chest out and their hands kept open."

    Ms Zheng also pointed out that people get put off when women dress inappropriately - say, in a top with a plunging neckline - or wear too much make-up.

    Mr Wenson Gunawan, 26, who is here for business, said that he attended the workshop to learn local business etiquette.

    The Indonesian, who runs his own trading business, said that it is common in his country to perform a handshake with both hands.

    "I have learnt from this workshop that a solid, firm handshake is the rule of thumb here," he said.