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Hitachi Solutions
July 31, 2017  •  By Abdul-Wahid Paterson

Project Kick-Offs and First Impressions

Programme Manager, Abdul-Wahid Paterson, shares 9 steps he goes through before each first-engagement project meeting, to try and ensure that first impressions are both positive and trust-building.

The old adage of not judging a book by its cover is something that we are much better at saying than actually doing. We all fall into the trap of very quickly stereotyping people we meet based on what they look like, how they speak and their mannerisms.

It is important to recognise when performing a project kick-off meeting: this is how people will judge you too. They will quickly make judgements about what type of person you are and whether they like you or not. Opinions are formed very quickly, but can take time to change.

As project managers and business analysts, we attend many project kick-offs during our careers, where we often meet key stakeholders for the first time. We want to establish ourselves as trusted advisers, and to do that, we need to hit the ground running. This means being clear as to what we want out of the kick-off session, and playing the part required for us to deliver success.

Playing the part does sound very theatrical and in many ways, it is. As Shakespeare said: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances.” Try to imagine the type of person you want others in the kick-off meeting to see you as, and act out being that person.

We all want to come across as confident, knowledgeable and skilled.  Abdul-Wahid’s nine steps to doing so, include:

  1. Be prepared
  2. Dress to impress
  3. Psych
  4. Smile
  5. Prepare an ice breaker
  6. Be adaptive
  7. Be self-conscious
  8. Conclude
  9. Follow-up

You can read more about them, here.

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