How to avoid awkward first meetings

How many times have you walked in to meet somebody at a coffee shop for a business meeting or social event without knowing what they look like? Then while you’re waiting, you nervously check your phone every 2 seconds so you don’t look weird looking around for a mystery person. Then when you think the person arrives, you awkwardly make eyes at them to see if they might recognize you. And if it’s not them, ¬†your mind goes crazy thinking that maybe you got the meeting time or location wrong. Then finally, they show up a few minutes late and a wave of relief comes of you as the awkward moment is over.

This happens to me all the time. Either because of a job interview, referral or just a friend of a friend who wants to pick my brain about marketing advice.

Here are three easy tips for avoiding this awkward situation:

1) Add a clear photo of yourself on to your social networks. (Linkedin, Twitter,, Facebook, WordPress blog…etc.) This way people can recognize your face and find you easily.

2) Swap mobile phone numbers so the person can send you a text if they are running late.

3) Let the person know that you’ll have a unique piece of clothing or accessory for them to recognize you. Sort of like the rose that Meg Ryan had in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” but not so cheesy. A special pen or a scarf will do just fine.

So there you have it. Three easy things to do so that your first impression doesn’t begin with sweaty palms and neck strain from nervously checking your phone. :)



  1. These will be very helpful! I am sure many people suffer the same anxiety as you (and me both) when meeting new people if we have no idea what they look like!

    Personally, I love doing interviews where there is a secretary to greet me. That way, I don’t have to look for anyone. The secretary puts in a call that I have arrived and the interviewer or a transitional party comes out to get me and introduces themselves!

  2. Very very helpful. I had a meeting with a Korean Businessman before and for every person looking like a Korean, I smile, thinking that he is the person I was about to meet! Unfortunately, they were not. Haha. I will definitely take note of these tips.=) Thanks!

  3. Agreed, the picture idea makes a ton of sense. I’ve been needing to update my LinkedIn/professional photo anyway but this gives me more reason to make it a priority. Thanks!

    It’s always good to make sure the person you’re meeting with knows exactly how to find the meeting place, too. If it’s somewhere you’re familiar with, mention a detail or two that’ll help them that Google Maps probably won’t show, like … it’s next to the pink building, or it’s the one with the red door.

  4. haha you just nailed the description of a cold call. The problem arises when the person you are meeting does not necessarily have an online profile, or if you have received the name from a colleague, friend (or website contact link) as a potential client and you are attempting to drop in unannounced. I like the tip on the unique piece of clothing or accessory! Might be a good icebreaker to tell them you will be the one wearing the “Cream Gardenia Boutonniere”.

    1. Haha that would be awesome! Perhaps I should be that guy who wears odd accessories so I can stand out at a coffee shop. I agree about what you mentioned about not having alot of information about the person you are meeting. In a way, I assume that with the internet being so ubiquitous these days, it’s hard not to learn everything about a person before you meet them. There was a great episode of “How I met your mother” all about that.

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