Because I was a more virtual administrative assistant when I worked for Northwestern Mutual, the meetings with business colleagues and clients were very few and far between. However, when I did attend conferences and company meetings, I always questioned myself if I were making a confident first impression when introduced to financial representatives, more senior staff people, and the president of the firm. In hindsight, I know I always smiled when I approached or was approached by another individual because that is just my personality. However, I’m not sure I was confident in my introduction or just casual conversation that comes after that initial introduction. This chapter has helped me recognize that I need to strengthen the following personal and work characteristics so that I portray a positive professional image:

1. I’m never too busy to properly introduce myself, my title, and who I work for. That email or return phone call can wait an extra minute or two so that I can make sure the individual I’m being introduced to knows I’m interested, open, and confident.

2. To know more about the people I will be surrounded by, at least at the very minimum so that any conversation that follows the introduction, I will be prepared to ask any questions or make comments that shows my interest in the individuals.

3. Take time to review any notes or tasks before I need to make phone calls. Though I’m not working right now, I have introduced this concept for personal calls and calls to contractors. I feel much more organized and that the phone conversations are more efficient and to the point.

Luckily the business attire was formal so I was in neutral colored clothing and skirt or dress suits the majority of the time. It definitely took away the headache of piecing together outfits every day. However, because of being a part of an environment like this, I have incorporated the “dress to impress” mind set into my casual day clothes whether I’m out running errands or just out with my daughter for the day. You never know who you will meet, and having a clean dress and a pleasant smile will go a long way for that first impression.