How To Make A Good First Impression
Last updated on : September 11 2021
The notorious first impression: from a job interview to a first date, there can be so much anxiety when meeting someone new.
However, introducing yourself to someone for the first time doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking. There are simple things you can do to help send the right message on the first try.
The following five tips can help you make a great first impression and keep the momentum going for a rewarding relationship.
1. Understand the Meeting’s Context
If you’re nervous about entering a new situation, one of the first things you can do to put your mind at ease is to learn as much as you can about the meeting.
Consider things like who you will be meeting, where the meeting will occur, and what time you’ll meet.
Knowing these details tells you the seriousness of the meeting, where you need to be (including the online meeting link), and what time to be there so you won’t be late.
These small details can help you better recognize the tone and context. From there, you can make decisions to be in the right mindset and set yourself up for success.
You can prepare talking points and questions ahead of time that you might want to bring up in conversation. If anything, having things to talk about beforehand can put your mind at ease if you are particularly nervous about how well the conversation will flow.
You can also boost your confidence by preparing your outfit ahead of time.
What you wear can significantly impact the impression you give to others and influence how you feel about yourself. This feeling can affect your mood, your overall attitude, and how focused you can be.
Be sure to pick an outfit that matches the tone of the setting you’re in and one that makes you feel confident and comfortable.
2. Be On-Time
One of the most well-known hacks to a great first impression is to be on time.
Arriving on time or even ahead of schedule is a quick demonstration of outstanding personal qualities.
Before someone has met you, you’ve shown you are reliable and trustworthy as you were able to maintain the commitment you made to the person you’re meeting.
Keeping your commitment and arriving at the time you’ve set can affirm that you’re empathetic towards others. Showing up as promised sends the message that you value the time the other person is willing to spend with you.
It shows respect and understanding for them and their schedule.
If you’re worried about arriving on time, it can be helpful to map out the route the day before. Preparing is an easy way to plan your day and ensure you leave enough time to arrive comfortably.
Running late may not only offend the person you’re meeting but can put you in a rushed or frazzled state of mind that will not translate well into your first impression.
When it comes to online meetings, make sure your software is updated and you know exactly where the meeting link is so that you won’t be hunting for it at meeting time.
3. Mind Your Posture
An essential part of communicating and coming across well to others is in your body language.
Bestselling author and CEO Peter Guber says, “Language is a more recent technology. Your body language, your eyes, your energy will come through to your audience before you even start speaking.”
It’s one of your first opportunities to present yourself and something people notice early on. If you’re mindful of this, you can demonstrate a lot of positive things about yourself.
The best body language includes lifting your chin and standing up straight. Holding your head up shows confidence and poise.
Right from the beginning, you can project your energy towards the person you’re meeting and prove that you are eager and excited to be there with them.
Consider this as opposed to standing hunched over, where you would look unsure and timid in your approach. Looking unsure could wrongly imply that you are not prepared or interested in the other person.
Another part of holding your head up is making eye contact with the person you’re speaking with. Eye contact is a great way to show engagement and interest in what the person is talking about to you. It’s also a way of holding yourself accountable by helping maintain your attentiveness.
Remember to put your phone down. Make sure that your phone is away, or at the very least not distracting you from the meeting. You can turn your notifications off or put the phone on vibrate so that it does not unexpectedly go off in the middle of your conversation.
If there is an emergency or a situation where you need to respond to something, politely excuse yourself.
However, doing your best to keep the phone out of sight the entire time will prevent any disruptions in the flow of the conversation and allow you to maintain your best possible focus.
4. Create Meaningful Dialogue
When it comes to the conversation itself, you can do certain things to stand out to others, including being a good listener.
In conversation, it’s tempting to want to contribute your own stories and show that you relate and understand. Usually, this can be a great way to connect with the people you’re speaking to, but there must be a balance.
Make sure you’re taking the time to listen and hear what the person is telling you rather than solely waiting for your turn to speak.
When listening to someone, consider refraining from excessively nodding along or constantly reassuring them as they speak. It’s best to do this every once in a while and be cautious that it’s not done throughout the conversation, as it can feel disingenuous.
Instead, you want to use your body language to affirm that you’re present and interested. Saving reactions for some of the more impactful moments will make the dynamics of the conversation a lot stronger.
When the time comes for you to respond, don’t rush to get a word in. Process what the person you are talking to has said and consider your best response.
If you have a drink with you, take a sip before you respond to allow you the time to collect your thoughts.
Being more intentional with your responses is an excellent opportunity to boost the quality of the conversation. It can help you feel better about yourself and the control you have over the direction of the conversation.
When contributing to the conversation, be mindful of the energy you display.
Even if you’re not extroverted, there are simple things you can do to keep the energy in a conversation high and flowing. These things include speaking up, including positive anecdotes, and showing excitement for your story or talking point.
Another simple way to improve the dialogue is through questions.
Asking helpful questions shows your curiosity to know more and that you care for the person’s perspective and want to understand what they have to say.
It can keep the energy high and spark excitement for the other person as you’re allowing them the space to share something meaningful.
5. Be Authentic
The one thing you can depend on is being yourself.
As scary as any first impression is, and as badly as we want others to accept us, you have to trust that who you are and what you have to offer is more than enough.
A successful entrepreneur and CEO Robert F. Smith says, “At some point in time in your life, you gotta look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘you have to take a little risk and go see.’”
You never know what that first date or job interview can lead to, but the best way to ensure that it works out for everyone is to be true to yourself and what you want.
People tend to be hypercritical of themselves and are quick to assume others are judging them or that their impression was unfavorable.
In any new scenario, it’s common to worry about being perfect and about saying and doing the right thing at all times. However, these expectations aren’t realistic, and the added pressure will only contribute to excessive nervousness and anxiety.
In taking the time to prepare for the meeting, also take the time to build yourself up and empower yourself to succeed. Remember all that you have to offer by considering your unique skill set and interests.
It can be helpful to take on a more positive frame of mind by remembering that the person you’re interacting with most likely wants the conversation to be a success as well.
Communicating is a two-way street. There’s a lot of factors that impact conversation. The first impression is just one beginning step.
Meeting anyone for the first time is nerve-wracking enough without the added pressure that the first impression decides your fate. Don’t let the stress get the better of you.
With the proper preparation, it’s easy to make a great first impression.
Remember to empower yourself, build your confidence, and project your positive energy outward.
You have everything you need, and anyone is lucky to meet you.
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