How to Make a Dynamite First Impression

You only get one chance to make a first impression. True? True!

Competition is fierce in today’s art market, and you must distinguish yourself.

How will people come to know you? More importantly, how will they remember you?

©Sylvia Herrera, Big Birds. Watercolor, 25 x 34 inches. Used with permission.
©Sylvia Herrera, Big Birds. Watercolor, 25 x 34 inches. Used with permission.

Consider this advice when you want to be memorable in the right way.

Be prepared.

There is no excuse to go into a meeting or situation blindly when you have the virtual world readily available. A simple check with search engines or a social media account might lead you to a treasure of information.

Conduct your research in advance to show people that you’ve heard of them – this always impresses.

You might also discover facts in your research that will help you skillfully navigate any conversation.

Be on time.

The little computer we all carry around in our purses and pockets has made it far too easy for us to be tardy to appointments. All we have to do is text someone to tell her we’re running late.

This is usually fine when you know the other person well. It’s not fine if it’s your first meeting or if you make it a habit.

Be interested.

People will think you are a fine human being if you listen to what they have to say rather than dominating the conversation.

©Mónica González, Rainbow Sea & Moves of Hope. Mixed media and acrylic on canvas, 31 x 23 inches. Used with permission.
©Mónica González, Rainbow Sea & Moves of Hope. Mixed media and acrylic on canvas, 31 x 23 inches. Used with permission.

Be present then they are more likely to return the favor when it’s your time to speak.

Be charming.

Don’t wait for an introduction or an invitation. Hold out your hand in a live situation and introduce yourself: “Hi, I’m Jack.”

Shake hands firmly and look the other person in the eye. Repeat and remember their name.

Ditto for the virtual world. (If only you could extend a hand through your computer!)

Be responsible.

Whether you are attending a business meeting, applying for a grant, or submitting to a competition, read details and follow instructions.

When people are thoughtful enough to provide details about a meeting or event and you reply without reading what they wrote, they are going to think less of you. They can't help it.

Accept no less than 100% responsibility for your actions and success.

Be brief.

Be brief in your email messages and, for Pete’s sake, don’t beat around the bush.

©Kathleen Bennett, Plum Island Radiance. Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.
©Kathleen Bennett, Plum Island Radiance. Oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches. Used with permission.

Burying the lead (your reason for writing) will cause recipients to scratch their heads. It will also banish your email to the bottom of the inbox.

How can people respond if they don’t know why you’re writing?

Be yourself.

I’m not asking you to do anything that is less than genuine. I’m only encouraging you to be the best version of yourself.

Your Turn

How do you make a dynamite first impression?

Do you have a memory of someone whose first impression left much to be desired?

Please share your experiences in a comment below.


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13 thoughts on “How to Make a Dynamite First Impression”

  1. Dress the part. You’re an artist so it’s okay to show your knowledge of color by combining clothing colors in interesting and unusual ways. Show your appreciation for design through style choices. And by all means pay attention to how you appear to others. I notice that you, Alyson, are very careful to be well groomed and nicely dressed at all times. You dress the part of a successful business woman with an artistic and approachable flair. The care we give ourselves is non-verbal communication.

  2. People love a smiling face. I make sure to smile, be attentive to what they are saying and use their name frequently. From your research, come prepared with a couple of questions or if they have written a book, bring a your copy. If there is time, politely ask for their inscription.

  3. “Be different! How are you, as an artist, differentiating yourself from the others?”

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips to make a great first impression as an artist. Sometimes just a quick reminder of these can be a huge different between being remembered or forgotten.

  4. I listened that during the first thirty seconds any relationship is defined. Your inside attitude of self confidence, and at the same time staying opening, looking for empathy, relax and a big smile from your inside including your sight, together with all the tips you are giving, equal successful communication, an assertive one.
    An this is something that I perceived from Alyson since the first time I saw a video and finally in person: she takes care of all the details, how she dresses, how she moves, and especially how she talks and approaches the other persons, very kindly, but firmed.

  5. I have found that promptness is valued, i.e., returning Emails, sending images, etc. Having worked in a virtual workplace for decades I learned this secondarily, but I get the distinct impression that not everyone is quick to supply the requested information, hence the gratitude. Consideration of another person’s time is always welcomed and can only leave a good impression.

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