According to the book titled Business Etiquette in Brief by Ann Marie Sabath, the following are seven ways that a person can sabotage a first-impression. Make sure that you’re not doing any of these!
- Sloppy language- Have you ever had an instance where you thought you were using a word correctly and/or pronouncing a word properly only to realize that you were wrong? It can be embarrassing to say the least, which is why you should always make sure that the vocabulary you are using during an interview or otherwise is appropriate given the situation. Not sure of a word? You can always invest in a dictionary or ask someone!
- Using lazy words- You could be dressed to the nines, but it won’t matter one bit if when you open your mouth, you sound like you were raised in an alley or on some backroad somewhere. Make sure that you enunciate your words and that you speak clearly, always choosing your words carefully. No one wants to hear that you know how to speak gangsta’ rap slang or that you’ve picked up on some of the slang words that the teenagers are using.
- Laughing-While it is true that laughter is the best medicine, some people laugh when it isn’t really appropriate. For some, laughing is a way to fill in an awkward space or help them relax, but it doesn’t always look professional. Know when to bubble up and when to suppress.
- Inappropriate touching-The only legitimate form of ‘touch’ in a business setting is the handshake. Patting someone on the back, kissing or even touching someone’s arm may be perceived as a little too comfortable or too friendly.
- Hiding your hands- It has long been declared that not showing your hands or having your hands visible is a sign to others that you are withholding information or not being truthful. It can lead others to feel uncomfortable around you.
- Gumchewing- Gumchewing is extremely unprofessional in any type of business situation and should only be done outside of the workplace during your own personal time.
- Throat clearing- Having a cold and needing to clear your throat is one thing. However, clearing your throat several times during the course of a conversation can be incredibly distracting; try swallowing a few times instead. If all else fails, have a glass of water handy.