Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

By Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey – Workplace Culture Experts & Barefoot Wine Founders

7 Moves That WILL Get You a “Yes!”

7 Moves That WILL Get You a “Yes!” 150 150 MIchael and Bonnie Harvey

Young people often ask us, “What’s the best way to present myself?” They want to put the odds in their favor during business meetings, presentations, and interviews. They come to us as employers, managers, and sales professionals to discuss our experience in paving the way to get to “Yes”.

When it comes to any business recommendation, we start with, “Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.” Whether you’re approaching an employer, buyer, or colleagues at a business meeting, they’re people first and foremost. And they share two common factors that influence their judgment.

The first is that they all want attention. So give it to them! This is why important meetings are most effective in person. Utilizing text is ideal when it comes to setting up and organizing the meeting. Email is a great way to summarize the meeting and discuss follow-up. Phone calls have their use, too, to solve problems and misunderstandings. But the first meeting should be face-to-face. Always! If you aren’t able to be there in person, utilize a video platform, like Skype.

And the second is that people are naturally quick to judge. You, your goals, and even your purpose will be judged before you even say anything. Yes, it sounds unfair, but you’re first judged on your appearance. Everything you say after you introduce yourself is biased by the first impression. It’s absolutely essential to present yourself successfully. Dress for success and portray the type of person they want to do business with.

Your body language and appearance can influence someone’s reception of your message, whether positive or negative. These tips have worked well for us, and we’ve seen others successfully use them to make a positive first impression.


As cliché as it might sound, “dress for success” is a tried-and-true policy. The way you choose to dress speaks volumes about you. Don’t dress like you’re looking for attention. Dress cleanly, neatly, and professionally.


Before you step foot in that meeting, take a deep breath and think about how happy they’ll be with what you’re offering. Smile, knowing you’ll put them at ease and that this meeting will benefit them.  


Walk confidently and energetically. Don’t look down. Pick up your feet and look ahead of you. This demonstrates balance, purpose, and determination.


Watch your posture—stand up straight! Look like an exclamation point, not a question mark. While you shake hands, step forward. Stand close enough to communicate effectively while giving them enough space.


Sit down with grace. Move smoothly—don’t slam into your chair and definitely don’t slouch. Keeping your shoulders back and your back straight will give you an alert, welcoming, dignified posture.


Make eye contact with whoever is speaking. And when you’re speaking, look directly at the person you’re speaking to. Don’t look down and don’t look away. To demonstrate your interest in the conversation, lean forward slightly.


When you’re listening to someone speak, keep your hands on your lap. Don’t put them near your face or rest your elbows on the table. When you’re speaking, use your hands for slight emphasis—don’t cross your arms. Keep your shoulders back in a receptive and open posture.

Keep this short checklist handy and review it before your next meeting. The results will surprise you! We all visually communicate these messages every day. On their own, they each won’t guarantee a “yes”, but a “no” will be much less likely from the get-go.

Best of luck during your next big meeting!

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