Your Guide To Amazing First Impressions
There are a whole range of situations in which you’ll want to give the best impression you can, whether you’re having a job interview, meeting your significant other’s family for the first time, or even just when you’re meeting new people at a party. Changing slight things about your demeanour can make a huge difference to the impression that people have of you, especially considering that first impressions can be conveyed in as little time as 100 milliseconds. That’s not a whole lot of time.
1. Your smile is important
Don’t grin manically, because that’ll make you look more like a clown than a reasonable person. Have a gentle smile on your face – even if the idea of practicing a smile may seem ludicrous and somewhat vain, it will help you have more control over your entire approach to a first meeting. Especially when you’re first being introduced or introducing yourself, a smile is imperative.
2. Remember that it’s about the other person
People like feeling special. That much is something you can take to every conversation you have. Learn to recognise tells of different emotions, like a person’s body language, patterns of speech, and modify your approach to prevent the other person from feeling bored, uncomfortable, or otherwise unhappy in the conversation. Keeping a reasonable amount of personal space is also an important factor in that.
(Image via Alexis Brown)
3. Eye contact
Recently, people have been falling out of the habit of maintaining eye contact. But even so, making eye contact at least sometimes will demonstrate that you’re paying attention to the person speaking, which is something they’ll always appreciate. This, accompanied by your willingness to make the other person feel more comfortable in the conversation by turning it towards themselves, will give off an excellent impression.
4. Ask questions
It’ll make you seem interested and engaged within the conversation. Sometimes, you’ll find someone who’s more reserved and would rather listen than talk, in which case it might be better for you to take control of the conversation. However, there are many people who’d jump at the chance to have someone genuinely interested in what they have to say.
If you’re in a job interview, this’ll make you seem prepared and willing to seek out information- rather than being a passive participant, it’ll give off the impression that you’re engaged, interested, and potentially able to contribute to the organisation in beneficial ways. Flippant questions about where the interviewer got his tie from might seem quirky and casual, and could potentially be a way to make the interview a more friendly experience, but make sure that they’re not going to present you as unprofessional or distracted.
5. Remember the impact of body language
Body language is a vital part of making a good first impression. Everything from your posture to the position of your arms (if they’re crossed, that might make you seem closed off) can have an impact on someone else’s perspective of you. Even the tone and pitch of your voice can have an impact- the best is to speak at a moderate pace, not too fast or slow, in a clear voice. If you have a naturally shrill voice, you can try to speak lower. However, if you’re keen on maintaining a long standing relationship with that person, you should speak with your normal register- otherwise you’ll be stuck talking in a significantly different way in every single interaction.
It’s fine if you’re nervous, but remember that that’s very evident in a conversation, and if you can manage to temper it down, or disguise it behind a prepared façade of confidence, you’ll still give off a great impression. After all, you can always fake it until you make it.
(Image via rawpixel.com)
6. Be genuine
This may seem contradictory to all the other advice above, but people are generally pretty tuned in when having conversations, and will be able to tell if someone’s acting disingenuous. If you’re interested enough in making a good first impression to click on this article, you’re probably already invested in the person and the conversation taking place.
7. Make a good exit from the conversation
Don’t just walk away from the situation without a parting word. Offer a handshake or other gesture, and give a reason for your departure. If the real reason is that you’d rather not be talking to the person anymore, feel free to make up an excuse- although you could run the risk of having them see through your guise, thereby destroying all the progress you made throughout the conversation.
And in a job interview, shake the interviewer’s hand and thank them for their time before you walk out the door.