First impressions are often everything and the worst thing is that you only get one chance to do that right. According to some research, a person only gets about 30 seconds to leave a great first impression. And since people can make judgments very quickly, you need to do your best to positively influence your guest, client, business partner, or love interest.
6 Ways to Leave a Great First Impression Every Time
How can you do that? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Be aware of your body language
It’s normal to be nervous when meeting someone new, but you don’t want your anxiety to stop you from making a good first impression. If you show confidence and comfort, you will succeed in your intentions. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if you struggle with anxiety, you can try the strategy of power posing to lower your cortisol level. Try taking longer strides, sitting up straight, walking with your chest and head held high even if that’s not your natural state. These simple poses will improve your confidence instantly. If you have a particularly important meeting, try videotaping yourself to see your posture. This way, you can improve your delivery.
Give attention to the person
In most cases, being on your phone is a big sign of rudeness, no matter the setting. Constantly looking at your phone indicates that you don’t care about the other person and that you’re not engaged. Even if multitasking doesn’t take away from your ability to focus, you should still leave any distractions in your bag or pocket if you don’t want to create an impression of a rude and negative person. Of course, if you need to demonstrate something on your phone, this rule doesn’t apply.
Prepare talking points
No matter if you’re meeting a new potential friend, love interest, or business partner, do your homework. Knowing who you’re meeting—what their interests and motivation are—can help with your impression. Your goal is to show that you understand where the other person is coming from. If you tend to blank out, prepare a few important talking points in advance to avoid uncomfortable silence. Depending on the situation, these talking points will differ, but they should always showcase your personality and your knowledge.
If you’re an aspiring businessperson, equip yourself with a stylish cardholder wallet filled with your business cards so you can exchange them in a professional manner. Practice these moves so they seem organic. If you didn’t get a chance to touch upon your topics before the conversation is over, try saying something like this: “Before we part, there are a few things I wanted to mention.”
Find common interests
Another way to leave a great first impression is to find a point of common interest. Some good bonds might be the fact that you went to the same university, have kids the same age, or like the same books to TV shows. When discussing these topics, you will make a connection on a human level. Finding out what the other person likes might require a bit of research on your part, but if you keep your eyes open for clues like a love of a certain sport, travel, country, or historical figure, you will definitely find something you have in common.
Thanks to social media like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you can easily find information for your conversation folder. And don’t dismiss small talk right away—it can show you a whole new world of information you can use.
One of the most common mistakes people make is trying to leave a great first impression is trying too hard to impress the other person with their knowledge. Don’t think you will create a good first impression with facts—you want to create a conversation that’s memorable and engaging. The best way to do so is to try and draw out the other person and listen when they speak. If you manage to make them feel safe and good, they will automatically create a good impression of you.
People love to talk about themselves, so ask open-ended questions that have a thoughtful tone—this will get them to talk about things they are passionate about. For instance, ask about the most exciting things that are happening in their life at the moment. Soon you will be talking about work, upcoming trips, and new hobbies.
Genuine people always make the best first impression. If you’re too worried about what you’re going to say and do, you will appear too strategic and insincere. The other person will quickly pick up on your inauthenticity and conclude that you’re trying to hide something. This might make the person less likely to trust you.
If you continue working on your conversational and people skills and keep these abovementioned tips in mind, you will go into every new meeting with confidence knowing that you have the skills and experience to leave a great first impression.