It is often hard to quantify precisely what a strong brand consists of. It's hard because a powerful brand creates equally powerful feelings in the minds of its market. We pay plenty of attention to important branding tactics utilizing social media, websites, and other media. But I believe that many business owners overlook the power of the "vibe" they create in person.
Whatever you may think of Bill Clinton's politics, just about anybody who met the man spoke of his charisma and the command he had of a room or a conversation. Do you think that ability helped him reach the Presidency of this country? Of course it did ... and you may not be planning on running for office, but the impression you create on those around you will go a long way towards defining your personal brand--for better or for worse. With that in mind, below are some tips to help you make a strong first impression. Some of these may be review--but we can all use a refresher course every once in a while!
1) You need to look sharp. It's that simple. This means clothing that is appropriate to your profession and the occasion, it means being neatly groomed, and it can even include smelling great!
2) Be confident. A first impression is not the time for modesty. You are an expert. You are the best at what you do. You are an authority in your field. Now act like it! Walk like it. Talk like it. We are all drawn to confident leaders ... confidence attracts followers (and customers!)
3) Make eye contact. When you meet someone, look them in the eyes. Making eye contact indicates warmth and confidence--while avoiding it can make you appear weak, or, even worse for a business owner, it can make you seem like you are hiding something.
4) Take a moment to think, if needed. Many people, when they are nervous, will stammer or repeat "um" thirty times per minute. If you are caught off guard, don't blurt out a poorly conceived answer. Take a couple of seconds to process, and then speak. You will be amazed by the difference this can make!
The first impression you make on a potential client plays a large role in defining your personal brand to that person ... so make sure it is positive!
JW Dicks (@jwdicks ) & Nick Nanton  (@nicknanton ) are best-selling authors that consult for small- and medium-sized businesses on how to build their business through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed Media, and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, white papers, and case studies at their Web site . Jack and Nick have been featured inThe New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets.