As the saying goes “you get one chance to make a first impression” and it appears that there’s a tendency to squander these opportunities time and again, for many of us. Creating a first impression requires establishing rapport within a short time frame (usually the first 20-30 seconds) and if one is unsuccessful at accomplishing this within the given time frame, please do not “over extend your stay.” Rambling on until the break of dawn or giving too much information (TMI) in one setting can kill future opportunities.

Believe it or not 60 seconds is enough time to size up anyone and if one pays close attention, significant amounts of information can be amassed in certain settings. Beginning with a strong and enticing information “nugget” can be just enough to build intrigue and lead to optimistic future discourse.

Future interactions create extended rapport building opportunities. However, a next meeting might not be in the cards, should you fail to recognize when to move on. When one is graciously invited to engage in future dialogue with that person of interest, trust and respect building opportunities commence, that unfold over time. Rarely will trust and respect happen upon first contact.

Therefore, when looking to develop a business or professional relationship, please do not give the observer any reason to doubt your knowledge, skills, or abilities, essentially your credibility. If a non-positive reaction is established against you, it is possible that all opportunities will be lost.

Remember the following and devise a plan based on these recommendations:

  1. Practice your 60 second elevator speech in advance, making the first 20-30 seconds very engaging
  2. The first 20-30 seconds should be about you not the business or opportunity
  3. Followed by information about your business, service, or opportunity
  4. Show enthusiasm and passion about what you do or offer
  5. Should you be asked to elaborate further on what you do, try to sum it up in 2 minutes or less.
  6. If there appears to be interest, ask if you can speak later, or call to set up a time to meet.
  7. Don’t forget to exchange information via a professional business card.
  8. Refine and customize the speech for different occasions.

Lastly, as an Image Consultant, I would be remiss if I didn’t add that your appearance and attire must aligned with your intended message and your purpose for the evening. The type of event will dictate what attire one should adorn on their body. Of course, you should use proper grooming and hygiene for these opportunities, but you already knew that. Right?!


Dr. Chris Michelle is a leadership and success executive who offers in depth knowledge on Image, Executive Presence, Etiquette, Communication, Style/Wardrobe, Project and Change Management. For more details on “The first 60 seconds” or how to create your own impactful elevator statement and first impression, reach us at

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