Making a great first impression
Have you ever met someone and liked them immediately? Many people assume that this is an indication of a natural chemistry between two people, but the truth might be more related to habits than you think. A great first impression can open doors to new opportunities and help you cultivate lasting relationships. While you can certainly leave it up to chance, there are several things you can do to leave a positive, lasting impression on others.
A first impression is someone’s first interpretation of your character and personality, according to Psychology Today, tinyurl.com/4vkn9mak. When you make a great first impression, people will be more likely to see you in a favorable light and will want to engage with you more. A poor first impression, on the other hand, can cause you to miss out on opportunities or may even negatively impact your reputation.
With a great first impression, you can:
- Perform better during interviews
- Kickstart relationships with friends and coworkers
- Increase your reputation
- Charm romantic partners
- Feel more confident in every other interaction going forward
How to make a great first impression every time
Some people are exceptionally charming by nature, but most of those behaviors can be learned see. While it might be a little awkward to get started, with time, you will find that you refine your practices and adapt more effectively to new people and circumstances. With these simple guidelines, you can make a great first impression no matter who you meet.
Maintain a respectable appearance: Humans are highly visual, and you can trust that they will begin to develop an opinion about you before you ever say a single word. How do they gauge this? Your appearance. The truth is that we cannot maintain an appearance that makes everyone happy, but by focusing on maintaining a respectable appearance, you are more likely to appeal to a larger number of people. To accomplish this, focus on hygiene and personal style. Make sure you are clean, your hair is combed, your clothes fit comfortably, and your wardrobe is well-maintained. Even small tips, like smoothing down flyaway hairs or making sure you use chapstick, can improve your appearance.
Be warm and welcoming: It is often said that people do not remember what you said; they remember how you made them feel, a keen observation first attributed to Maya Angelou, tinyurl.com/yxsdwcby. When someone is warm and welcoming, it leaves a great impression. You can achieve this by focusing on smiling, showing an interest in the other person and being courteous in your behaviors. A welcoming smile and offering someone a drink or handshake can work wonders.
Focus on engagement: We live in a world where people are constantly glued to their phones, but inattentive behavior leaves a very poor impression. To make sure that the person you are communicating with feels included and appreciated, it is important to remain fully engaged in conversation. Give the individual your undivided attention, and try not to let the conversation fall flat. Engage the person in different ways to send a clear message that you appreciate them spending time with you.
Be authentic: Improving certain behaviors can help us to grow and become better versions of ourselves–and this doesn’t always feel natural at first. Of course, self-improvement is not choosing to not be ourselves, it is simply choosing to be a better version. Regardless, you should never change so much that you are not authentic. When people are clearly faking, others can feel it–and it will often make them distrust you. You should be on your best behavior, but you should still be true to who you are in a way that is appropriate for the interaction.
Support a natural conversation dynamic: Conversation is an art, and it is one that has been evolving since humanity first began conversing. The rules that dictate conversation dynamics can change in response to cultural differences and time periods see, but there are a few things you can do to support a natural conversation dynamic in the modern world. The most important rule?
Avoid monopolizing. A natural conversation dynamic should involve give and take. Although some instances, like job interviews, may be tilted in one direction, it is important to still maintain a conversation—not just force someone to listen to you. When you talk with someone, be a good listener, and maintain a healthy balance in the conversation.
Be respectful of the other person's time: We only have so many hours in a day, and few things are more frustrating than someone who is not respectful of your time. To make sure that you are always respecting the time of the person you are with, start by always being punctual and respecting when a person needs to be somewhere else. Make sure that you make the most of your time with everyone you connect with.
Use your strengths: How someone uses what they are given says a lot about them. Chances are that you have certain strengths that you can use to be helpful to those around you. Offering helpful information, lending a helping hand or speaking up when you think you can improve a situation will paint you in a positive light in many circumstances.
Avoid unbecoming behavior: No one is perfect, but some habits are simply unacceptable no matter where you go. Avoid all of the common unbecoming behaviors, like chewing with your mouth open, speaking too loudly, being negative or engaging in gossip. These red-flag behaviors can quickly make someone else want to avoid you at all costs.
Make them remember you—in a good way
When you learn how to make a great first impression, you might just be amazed by how many doors it opens. This is a great way to make new friends, find that special someone, network effectively, and land the job of your dreams. As long as you put in the work, you will only get better with time.