Have you ever arrived at an event, approached the reception or entered the main hall, and then experienced what can be politely described as a lukewarm greeting?
There are staff there in uniforms or badged up, who give you a half-hearted smile and possibly even thrust a programme in your hands. No words exchanged. A split-second later, you have forgotten their existence, unless you need to ask them questions.
That’s all well and good if your event or project hinges on being unobtrusive and low-key. However, if you were aiming for a dynamic, engaging and personally appropriate event experience, then you’ve fallen at the first hurdle.
Why First Impressions Matter
The power of the first impression is as old as the hills. Do you know that the human brain is so sophisticated that it can take in a great deal of information, with a glance lasting just one-tenth of a second?
In that time, we sketch a mental picture of the people we meet, including assessing their gender, age, race and physical appearance. Test yourself one day for fun.
Our brain can even formulate a view on people based on their location. Are they in the centre of a crowd – extrovert – or stood on their own – introvert? Do they look approachable or furtive?
Of course, our first impression continues to be informed by anything that happens when we start to interact with someone. Humans are hardwired to subconsciously form opinions in the first few minutes. Friend or foe? Are they someone you can feel comfortable with or not?
Ever-More Demanding Consumers
This is not just about human instinct, but also modern lifestyles. Have you noticed how the digital age has made everyone’s mind move faster? Modern day consumers are savvier than ever before and far more demanding. Millennials have information and buying power fingertip-close 24/7. They also have shorter attention spans and are less willing to listen to marketing fluff.
All of this adds up to the fact we started with: first impressions count.
Getting the Greeting Right is Vital
With the right promotional staff in place, your event is provided with a walking, talking embodiment of your aims and objectives.
The minute delegates arrive, they can experience competence and warmth – the twin pillars of customer engagement. A smile, eye contact, responsive information and an open and welcoming stance - these can leave your event delegates far more relaxed and open to whatever awaits them.