Suppose you have met someone new at a social event. How do you make a first impression? Do you smile? Do you shake hands? What do you even say first?
The kind of world we live in is where communication is the key to everything, and the first impression matters the most.
The impact decides whether someone likes you or not, giving you the make-or-break situation. It becomes almost decisive whether you will be hired or get the gig, contract, or the particular set goal.
Some people are naturally better at making a first impression, but most are not. Also, making your first impression is not just about how you look. There’s a lot more to it.
Here are different methods to help you create an excellent first impression in a professional setting.
Before this, here are some quick tips to get you started
- Smile: It may sound clichéd, but it’s true! Smiling can change your whole appearance. You look friendly, approachable, confident, and trustworthy. The best thing about this advice is you don’t have to fake it. Just smile and relax.
- Be Confident: If you’re nervous, then chances are you’ll come across as nervous too. So focus on getting into a calmer state and be excellent and balanced. Don’t worry if you feel like fidgeting because it will only increase it. Instead, focus on what you want to communicate with your body language.
- Speak Clearly: The most crucial aspect of communication is clarity in your speech. People who talk are perceived as intelligent, articulate, and knowledgeable. They also are more likable. So, always use precise words and phrases. Avoid using slang, colloquialisms, and jargon.
- Dress Well: Dressing well makes you look intelligent, polished and professional. But remember that dressing up doesn’t mean wearing suits and ties. Wear clothes that fit you well. And wear them with confidence.
- Stand Up Straight: Standing straight helps you project authority and credibility. So stand tall, hold yourself confidently, and walk with purpose.
- Use Eye Contact: Looking into other people’s eyes shows interest and respect for them.It is important that you maintain eye contact with the person you are talking to throughout the conversation.
- Listen Carefully: Listening carefully conveys empathy and understanding. So, pay attention when people are speaking to you and ask relevant questions.
- Show Interest: Showing interest means being attentive and interested in what other people are saying. It also reflects that you care about their opinions and thoughts.
- Ask Questions: When you ask questions, the other person thinks that you’re interested in what they are saying or knowing about them. It also reflects that you value their opinion.
- Look Happy: Wearing a happy face will make you seem more positive and enthusiastic. So, keep smiling and laugh out loud from time to time.
- Make Sure You Are On Time
- Your body language Must Be Positive.
- It’s Important To Look Interested
- Make eye contact
- Do your research About The Company & Position.
- Accept When Your first impression Goes Bad And Figure Out What Went Wrong.
- Present Yourself The Best Way Possible
- You Need To Be Empathetic
- Arrive early To The Venue
- Doing A firm Handshake.
- Just Be Yourself
- Don’t Forget To Smile.
- Admit When You Do Mistake
- Dress for the occasion
- Be Open and Confident
- Focus on the future
- Practice Answering The Commonly Asked Interview Question
- Start With Small Talk
- Managing Your Facial Expression
- Be a good communicator.
- Have A Positive Attitude
Make Sure You Are On Time
Don’t worry if someone you’re meeting for the first time doesn’t seem concerned when you say you’re running late.
If you’re going to arrive at least five minutes early for an appointment, allow yourself some leeway for any unexpected delays in traffic, taking the wrong turn, etc.
Being early is much preferable to being late. It’s the first thing you need to do when trying to create an excellent first impression.
If your first meeting is virtual, make sure you’ve checked your technology and connection before attending, and consider your background, location, and surroundings.
Your body language Must Be Positive.
Body language is the most signficant aspect of communication. These are some essential tips for good body posture.
Whether you are standing or sitting, make sure you are with a straight backbone, and keep your head up. It is a way to present yourself as a confidant as well as a comfortable person.
Never keep your arms and legs crossed. This makes you feel uncomfortable and closed off from the other person, which makes you less likely to open up to
Offer your hand for an excellent, firm handshake that is firm but not crushing.
It’s Important To Look Interested
Even if you’re not much interested or excited about what they have on their mind, at least pretend to be. You never know who someone else knows and how they might help you in the near future. Also, it’s the ideal way to behave in these situations.
Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, says that one way to win anyone’s trust and confidence is simply allowing them to speak before you. Let them say first what they want to say.
Start gathering information about the other person, such as their name, age, and occupation. Listen as they share their stories, and the best way to get to know them is by engaging in small talk.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Be a good listener
- It would be best if you asked pertinent questions while in the conversation with them.
- Keep maintaining the eye contact
- Never try to interrupt their sentences or stop them from saying what they’re saying or want to.
- Also, don’t finish their sentences as well.
- Be calm, clear, and precise with your speaking.
Make eye contact
Nonverbal communication involves eye contact. Making eye contact shows that you’re honest and respectful towards the person you’re talking to.
Making eye contact also shows that we’re paying attention to the person we’re talking to and listening to what they’re saying.
Make sure to look at them when they’re talking to you, and keep looking at them throughout the conversation. You don’t necessarily need to stare people down when talking to them.
Leil Lowndes suggests a 60/40 ratio for eye contact, where 60% indicates that you’re paying attention but not aggressively.
Do your research About The Company & Position.
Knowing critical information about the company before going into an interview can help you feel confident during the interview.
Understanding the context and environment that one will be in helps one prepare for it.
It can help you choose appropriate clothing and inform you of the correct level of formal language that will be suitable for the occasion. You may also discover other people you can use to start conversations with.
Preparation before an interview will help you feel more relaxed and confident and show that your interest in the job is genuine.
By using the company’s website, its social media posts, and recent news releases, you’ll get a good idea of the company’s goals and how you can help them achieve them.
Accept When Your first impression Goes Bad And Figure Out What Went Wrong.
When you accept your wrong first impression, you can figure out what was wrong with it and how to improve it.
Self-awareness will help you identify what you require to improve or change yourself and why.
After identifying where you went wrong (what went wrong), you can take corrective action to prevent it from happening again.
Present Yourself The Best Way Possible
You should care about your physical appearance, even if you’re not a celebrity. People usually notice your appearance right away when they meet you.
But, don’t worry! It doesn’t mean you have to look like an Instagram model in order to create an effective and lasting first impression.
Not at all! To make a decent impression, it is crucial that you present yourself as appropriately as the situation demands.
They say a picture speaks of the thousand words, so the “picture” you first show to someone you’re meeting must paint a clear picture of who you are.
Think about this as you wear your clothes. What is the appropriate attire for the meeting or occasion (e.g., business casual)? What is the proper business attire for a business setting?
The suit, blazer, casual? What will the person you’re going to meet be wearing? If you are meeting someone who is in a creative business or entertainment industry, then vibrant attire might be suitable.
When attending business and social events, appropriate dress also varies from country to country and culture to culture, so you should pay particular attention to it when in an unfamiliar setting.
Make sure you understand the country’s customs and norms by reading up on them in our section on Managing Across Cultures.
You Need To Be Empathetic
Make sure you pay attention to the emotions of the person you’re conversing with.
Being empathetic towards someone can help create a strong connection. They demonstrate that you understand their emotional state.
Arrive early To The Venue
Arrive a few minutes early. It is crucial you are punctual because arriving on time tells people that you are respectful towards the time. It signifies your competence and sincerity as well.
This extra time on your hand, you can use to freshen up in the bathroom or check your appearance or simply make yourself calm and composed. All to prepare for this important interview, meeting, or any conversation you are going to have.
Plan for traffic delays, bad weather, and parking issues by scheduling extra time into your calendar.
Doing A firm Handshake.
Before COVID, a handshake was used as an international sign of politeness between people who didn’t know each a proper handshake conveys confidence.
Handshakes will be back after a COVID vaccine is discovered because they’re an easy way to make an incredible first impression.
Don’t ignore or underestimate it because doing a good handshake is a sort of art. It would be best if you hit the right balance. It should be warm and friendly. You can’t be too soft or too hard with it. You may convey an unappealing impression.
If you’re sitting when you’re introduced to somebody, stand up before shaking their hand—it shows respect for them.
Just Be Yourself
Yes, making a great first impression means you must fit. But it doesn’t necessarily mean becoming someone else or pretending to be someone who you’re not. The most effective way to make an excellent first impression is by being yourself.
Doing this will grow your confidence, help you build your reputation, and earn the respect of the people you meet.
Don’t Forget To Smile.
A genuine smile makes people feel good, comfortable, and welcomed. It relieves the tension between people or any awkwardness and puts them at ease.
The saying goes, “Smiling creates happiness, so smile!” So there’s nothing like smiling to create an excellent first impression.
A warm and confident expression will help you communicate with the person and do something that makes them comfortable. Smiling is an highly effective way to make a great first impression.
It makes your eyes look trustworthy and sincere. If your smile reaches beyond your lips, it will be seen whether you’re wearing a mask or not.
If you feel a tightness in the muscles around your eyes when smiling, you know that your eyes show in your smile.
But don’t go too far with this – people who get carried away with this can come across as insincere and smarminess.
Admit When You Do Mistake
Admitting your mistakes can sometimes be the most challenging thing to do. After that, confessing your error to others is easy.
Remember that just because you made an initial wrong impression, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it was always you or that you were at fault. It doesn’t matter if you know why something didn’t go right; what matters is knowing what went wrong, so you don’t repeat the mistake.
If you need to apologize for something you’ve done wrong, then you’re showing that you’re aware of the situation and you want to improve it. A sincere apology can go a long way to repairing a wrong first impression.
Dress for the occasion
Your clothes significantly contribute to your first impression. People are affected by your appearance. They may not be aware of it, but they’re affected by it and may or may not think appearance is important.
Whatever you wear on the occasion comes with respective consequences.
Dress appropriately for the occasion. Wearing casual clothes for a job interview is unlikely to create an impression of seriousness about the job.
Be Open and Confident
Body language can often be more expressive than what you say when it comes to making a positive first impression.
Projecting appropriate confidence and self-confidence is essential. Stand straight, smile, look people in the eyes, and shake their hands firmly. All of this will make you feel more confident and encourage both you and your partner to feel more relaxed.
Everyone gets a little nervous when they meet someone for the first time, but if you’re really worried, you can always ask them about their background before you get.
However, this can cause unwanted side effects, such as nail-biting, jitters, or sweaty palms. If you’re aware of your nervous habits and want to control them, you can try to keep yourself from acting on them.
Focus on the future
Don’t worry too much about the first impression. Once you’ve accepted and acknowledged it, please focus on the things you’re going to do to improve the first impression and then do them.
Dwelling on the negative first impression will only make your recovery from it harder.
Practice Answering The Commonly Asked Interview Question
Before answering the question, “What makes you qualified for this job?” prepare an answer to the question: “Tell me about yourself, including why you’re interested in this role with this company.”
The idea is to quickly convey who you are and what you can offer the company and the position. It’s your elevator pitch.
Start With Small Talk
Conversations are all about a give and take of words. You might want to ask yourself some questions before meeting someone new. Or take a couple of minutes to learn something about their background.
For example, do they play golf or tennis? Do they work with a local charity organization? Do you share any similarities with them? If so, this could be an excellent way to begin a conversation and continue it.
Managing Your Facial Expression
It’s not just your clothes that count when making a good impression. Research shows that facial expressions play a significant role in how people perceive us.
You may not have a face made for television, but there is one feature over which you have complete control—you smile.
Smiling is an open invitation to communicate with others. It shows that you’re trustworthy and considerate and that you value their opinion and their attention towards you.
A keyword here is actual. Fake smiles can be easily spotted and have the opposite effect of a genuine smile.
If you’re wearing an N95 mask during COVID, don’t forget that a genuine smile will make your cheeks puff out and create laugh lines around the edges of your eyes. Botox, folks, or else you’ll end up looking just like a washed-up celeb.
Successful people tend to have well-defined eyebrows and jawlines. This is something that seems to be representing strong leadership. Make sure your eyebrows and lips are slightly raised to appear more trustworthy.
Be a good communicator.
A good communicator doesn’t just listen; they speak up when needed. A good rule of thumb for this is to speak only one-third as much as you listen, but don’t worry if you end up talking too much.
Listening more shows that you’re attentive and lets the person talking know that they’ve been heard.
As founder of First Impression Ann Demarais points out, people always remember how they felt when they met you. If you communicate, listen well, and show interest in others, they’ll enjoy interacting with you.
Have A Positive Attitude
Your attitude shows in everything you do. So, project a confident attitude, even when faced with criticism or nervousness.
Try to learn from your meeting, and if you don’t know something, ask for help. Finally, show that people can approach you, and you can assure that by keeping a positive behavior towards them.
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Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.