We only have one chance to make a first impression. We are judged by others within one to two seconds of first meeting. This first impression is unlikely to ever change, so it's important to think about the impression you want to leave. Remember, as a small business owner, you are the face of your business.

Body language speaks volumes. It's a fact that people you meet for the first time will pay as much attention to your body language as they pay to your words. You will be judged by your body language before you even open your mouth. Be sure that you uncross your arms and have an easy, ready smile at all times.

Dress properly for the occasion. Find out what the "dress code" is and dress appropriately. Choose something that will complement your personality, boost your confidence and is comfortable.

Be in the moment. It's important to pay attention to the people you are meeting. Greet them with a firm handshake, look them in the eye and smile. Repeat their name as a way of remembering. Before going into the event, turn off all your digital devices.

It's not about you. Another important factor in creating a lasting and great first impression is by getting engaged in your discussion with the other person. Take note of his or her name and make sure that you mention it at least once in your conversation. This will make him or her feel that you are interested and that you've paid attention.

Don't interrupt. It's sad that I need to point this out. People talk over people and interrupt them all the time. It may have to do with the digital age that we live in. It's easy to text or email while the other person is doing the same. However, when you are meeting someone in person, be sure to let them talk and you can then add to the conversation.

Throughout our journey as entrepreneur women, we will be meeting a lot of people and will be making a lot of connections. Remember that with every connection we only have one chance to make a great first impression. So let's be sure to make the most of it.

Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at kmcshane@ladieswholaunch.com or ladieswholaunch.com/southwestct.

More Information

Fact box