How to Make a Winning First Impression
As they say, first impressions are everything. Whether you’re meeting someone at a professional networking event, a job interview or a social engagement, the people you meet are making a judgment about who you are in the first thirty seconds of meeting you.
Think about your own thought process when you meet someone for the first time. You probably look at the person’s clothes, listen to their tone of voice, and watch their mannerisms to decide if you want to know them or not. That’s a lot of pressure, when you think about it.
Instead of letting the pressure win, though, you can ensure you make a winning first impression every time by simply being prepared.
Make Your Appearance Count
We like to think that looks don’t matter, but they do, especially when you’re meeting someone for the first time. Dress appropriately for the event and take time to perfect your appearance. When you look good, you’ll feel good. And when you feel good about yourself, you’ll be confident and self-assured.
Confidence is an appealing trait that will help you make a memorable first impression. If you’re not feeling particularly confident, fake it. You can make yourself appear more confident than you are by limiting your hand gestures, smiling and making direct eye contact.
Listen, Smile and Chat
While you will want to take time to prepare your elevator speech and introduction about who you are and what you do, when meeting someone for the first time your focus should be on them. Listen as they talk, ask appropriate questions to engage them in conversation and let it happen naturally. The key is to let the other person know that you are truly interested in who they are and what they have to say.
Play the Name Game
In the same thread of putting the focus on the other person, one of the best ways to make a great first impression is by asking for the person’s name, remembering it, and using it as you talk to them. There are a lot of mental games you can play to help yourself remember someone’s name, and if you’re able to do it successfully, it will make a positive impact.
Breathe and Be Yourself
When you’re nervous, it can be challenging to relax and be completely present in the moment. Sometimes our desire to make a good first impression makes us over prepare and strive for perfection, which only makes our nervousness more apparent. We’re all human and we all have flaws, so forget about trying to be perfect and just focus on being you.
How you do prepare to meet someone for the first time and ensure the impression you make is a good one?
Image credit: Henkster