The sense in a first impression

You only ever get one chance to make a first impression – and that is particularly true in the business…

By Andy Thomas


You only ever get one chance to make a first impression – and that is particularly true in the business world.

Your office should represent your brand, your employees and the way you conduct business, but it should also leave your clients wanting to come back time and time again. A first impression of your business is formed quickly – within 7 seconds in fact – so your office should consistently wow your clients throughout.

By leaving your clients with a bad first impression, you could lose their business, suffer negative reviews and ultimately destroy your brand. The human brain is hardwired to make snap decisions based on first impressions as a prehistoric survival mechanism, so those first few seconds really do count; but how do you ensure your clients are instantaneously impressed?

How to create that positive first impression in the workplace

To ensure you are creating a positive first impression, you need to impress your clients at every angle, which means hitting all five of the senses; sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Let’s have a look at the journey of perception your clients go on when they enter your office:


What is the first thing your clients see when they enter your office? Are there stains on the carpet? Do you keep your rubbish bin by the front door? Is your furniture old and tatty? Does the receptionist look bored? Everything from the quality of your furniture down to the expression on your employee’s face will contribute to that first impression. You need to ensure that not only does your office have the right layout which takes the client on a journey through the building, but that your furniture and décor are modern, clean and in the best condition possible. You should also strive to ensure your employees are happy, hardworking and motivated which will be reflected in their body language.


One of the first things that hits your clients as they walk through the door is the smell of the office. We all have a particular scent in life which ignites fond memories or gives us that feeling of nostalgia, so make your office smell memorable. Whether it’s scented candles, air fresheners, flowers or perfume sprayed around the room, you want your clients to breath it in and feel refreshed. A stale, repulsive smell will leave your clients never wanting to come back again.


Silence can be deafening, and that is particularly true when your clients enter the office for the first time. If your office is completely silent, there is no sense of atmosphere and your clients will be very conscious of every word they say as they enter the room. With that being said, a noisy office can be just as intimidating. Try to set the tone of the office with light, calming music and warn staff when clients are coming to the office so they can tone down any wild behaviours!


The feel of your office also needs to appeal to your client’s senses. This means providing comfortable furniture which they can sink into and feel right at home, with clean surfaces and supreme luxury. There’s nothing worse that settling down for a long meeting and not being able to find a comfortable position in your chair, so don’t neglect to make your clients feel comfortable throughout your meeting. It’s also important to consider the temperature of the room – the ideal meeting room temperature is around 21 °C if you don’t want your clients shivering in the cold or sweating in the heat!


For a truly memorable experience in your office, your secret weapon will be the drinks and snacks you offer your clients. If you can offer an array of drinks, with a selection of luxury snacks alongside, you can be sure your clients will want to come back time and time again. Check out the state of the art coffee machine we installed in our Glenigan office fit out.

If you can hit all five of the senses when your clients enter the door, you can guarantee they will have a long lasting good impression of your business. Of course, there’s a lot that you and your staff need to do in terms of body language and how you speak to your clients, but if you get your physical workspace in order first then you’ll be one step ahead. To find out how we can help you make the right business first impressions, get in touch with us today.

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