It is said that a first impression is something you can never get back. In many cases, this is true.
What someone judges about you in the first few seconds of meeting them is the impression that sticks with them.
In the first few moments, someone may judge how intelligent, successful, adventurous, and much about you.
Preparation is the key to making great first impressions.
How do you do that?
That’s what this article is about. We will give you 15 tips that will help you make a great first impression.
Having good grooming and proper hygiene can make a huge difference in the impression that you give.
Good grooming could include:
Wearing a nice outfit
Putting on nice makeup (female)
Using perfume or cologne
Shaving and trimming facial hairs
Having a nice haircut
Proper hygiene could include:
Taking a bath regularly
Brushing your teeth
Cleaning your nails
Cleaning your ears
Keeping your hair clean
Make sure you don’t look shabby, unkempt, or smell like you haven’t taken a shower in a week. Make sure you’re using deodorant.
You will also feel more confident because you’ll feel like you’re ready and prepared. If you feel good about your look, you will act more confident and stay cool and calm.
(Always keep in mind that proper hygiene should be done on a regular basis and not only when you’re hoping to make a good first impression.)
2. Dress well to Impress
Along with good grooming and proper hygiene, how you dress is important. In most cases, this is the first thing people will notice about you.
Some suggest dressing one level up than required for whatever event you are going to. Others say you should always be dressed and ready to go to events or get-togethers or parties if asked.
If dressing up is not your style, if nothing else, try to make sure your clothes fit well. You could even consider taking some of your clothes to a tailor to get them fitted.
Not only does it make you look better, but dressing well can help you feel more confident as well.
Take some time to put on an outfit that makes you look nice and feel your best.
3. Be early, not on time
Arriving on time can often lead to being late rather than being early.
Showing up early won’t get you penalized, but showing up late is an easy way to blow your first impression. You should think about things that could go wrong, like getting stuck in traffic or getting lost.
If you plan to arrive early, you’ll have time to fix any potential problems.
And, if you are still late, you should take responsibility for being late instead of making one hundred reasons why it’s not your fault.
Being early shows that you’re eager to meet the person and that you’re considerate of their time. It’s a small thing, but it can make a big difference in how you’re perceived.
Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early!
4. Make eye contact
When you meet someone for the first time, they will form an impression of you based on your appearance and body language.
Making eye contact shows that you’re interested, confident, and engaged. Eye contact makes your words more remarkable.
So, the next time you meet someone new, create a good impression by looking them in the eyes.
Here are some tips on making eye contact.
Make friendly eye contact.
Make eye contact before you say a word.
Every 5-15 seconds, break eye contact slightly.
If you are doing public speaking, select 4-5 people throughout the crowd to look at.
If you are uncomfortable with making eye contact, find another spot near the eyes.
5. Have a winning smile
Smile after you made eye contact.
Your smile is another thing that people will notice about you, so it’s important that you have a winning smile.
A great smile can make you look more confident, friendly, and attractive, and it can also make it easier for you to connect with other people.
No one wants to talk to someone that has an expression of disapproval.
Smiling makes other people smile, so if you smile, there’s a good chance that the person you’re talking to will do the same. Smiles are contagious, and they will reflect well on you.
So remember to put your best smile forward the next time you meet someone new.
Nothing you wear is more important than your smile. – Connie Stevens Click To Tweet
6. Give a great greeting
It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you meet for the first time or if you’ve known them for years. A warm greeting can go a long way.
When you greet someone, make eye contact, smile, and give a firm handshake.
Remember to act confident throughout the interaction. If you project confidence, others will be more likely to see you as an authority figure or leader. These simple actions will convey that you are open and welcoming.
Here are some additional tips on how to give good greetings
Make sure you mention the name (Use their first name).
Practice the rule of being kind and polite.
Use a calm and friendly voice.
7. Do your research and come prepared
Do your homework.
If you’re meeting someone new, research them beforehand to know what to expect.
Being prepared for conversation can help you look confident. It looks bad when, after “hello,” you stand around staring with nothing to say.
Prepare some questions beforehand that you can ask people. You can use the event or surroundings as a starting point. (For more ideas, check out: Types of Questions to Ask in a Conversation to Keep it Going.)
Tip: Answering these questions helps you be more prepared:
Who do you expect to see?
What’s the event?
Where is the event?
Why are you going – Your purpose?
What message do you wish to deliver?
8. Act confident to be confident
Act confident! Even if you don’t feel it, pretend that you are.
Hold your head up high as you walk through the door, and pretend something is pulling it up even higher.
When you carry yourself confidently, it signals that you’re a competent and capable person. This also makes people more likely to trust and respect you.
And, when you act confident, you start to feel confident.
Another simple technique to reduce anxiety and feel more confident is to do a power pose before you start interacting with others.
Some examples of Power poses
Superman style Position your feet spaced apart and raise your arms in a ‘V’ position.
Wonder woman Hands-on your hips, chest forward, and chin raised.
The CEO Lean back with your arms behind your head.
The Loomer Lean forward and put your hands on the table, you can look taller and more in full control.
These poses can influence our thoughts and emotions and can help us be more confident.
9. Put your phone away
We tend to check our phones whenever we have free time.
But when you’re meeting someone for the first time, give them your full attention.
Putting away your phone shows that you’re interested in what the other person is saying and that you value their time. Being on your phone can make you seem less interested in meeting someone and make you appear uninterested.
It’s a small gesture, but it can change how people see you in a big way.
10. Be a great listener
People want to be heard and feel like they are important, and they are more likely to trust you and respect someone who really listens to them.
Dale Carnegie, in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, tells a story of how he just listened to a botanist for a few hours and was praised highly by that botanist as being a great conversationalist.
Of course, it’s not always easy to listen well. It takes focus, concentration, and the ability to resist the urge to talk or offer a solution. But the work is well worth it.
People often think that people who listen well are more thoughtful and caring, making it easier for them to build strong relationships at work and at home.
Often, this is the first thing you say when you meet someone you didn’t know.
It’s a great way to break the ice and make people feel more comfortable with each other. It shows that you’re interested in getting to know them and that you’re a friendly person.
So the next time you meet someone new, try making some small talk. Sometimes friendships start with simple small talk.
Tip: Topics to focus on when doing small talk
Work A typical example is asking about their current job. You can talk about the past and the present, like what is their first job or ask how is their typical day looked like.
Life You can talk about the news or ask about their plan for the weekend. If they share something that you can relate to, that’s great. But if it’s something new to you, ask them for more information. That way you can still connect with them.
Food This is something that we have all in common, and there is so much to talk about. You can speak of some restaurants or something that you are planning for your dinner.
Weather Weather is one of the easiest topics to talk about, and it can be used to connect with other topics.
Travel You can ask them for some recommendations and talk about some of their travel plans. Asking what places are on their bucket list is often a great conversation topic.
Start with an interesting topic you can relate to.
Modulating your pitch can convey confidence and authority, while a friendly tone of voice will make people more likely to trust and like you. Additionally, it’s important to modulate your voice so that you sound interested and engaged in the conversation.
Take a moment to think about how you speak. Ask someone if you need to. How do you come across? Taking the time to work on your speech can greatly improve how you come across to others.
This doesn’t mean grilling them with personal questions. Rather, be interested in learning about who they are.
Ask about their hobbies, their families, and their jobs. Everyone loves to talk about themselves, so when you’re at a business meeting, or networking event — start off by asking open-ended questions.
Start by asking them how they got started in their career or what they like most about their job. People are naturally attracted to someone who makes them feel special and important.
By showing curiosity about them, you give them the opportunity to talk about themselves, which everyone loves to do.
Consequently, showing curiosity allows us to connect with others on a deeper level.
15. Play the host
Be the person who walks up to people, introduces themselves, and initiates conversation.
Be the person who welcomes people into a group and introduces everyone and who brings people up to speed.
It will give them the opportunity to get to know more in the group, which can help them feel more comfortable and welcome.
Be that person, and it makes you look confident, like a leader, and people will appreciate your efforts of initiation and introduction.
Final Thoughts on How to Make a Great First Impression
These 15 tips can be helpful when it comes to making first impressions. However, don’t fall into the same trap of labeling people based on a quick first impression
We all want to be judged after people take the time to get to know us, and the same goes for others. Work on not being so quick to judge someone based on the first few seconds.
Yes, we will get an “initial” impression about someone, but let’s challenge those impressions by getting to know the person and seeing what they are really like.
What other tips do you have for making a great first impression?
Share them with us in the comments below.
Thomas is the owner of The Exceptional Skills. He has taught and worked in K-12, the college realm, and in a variety of businesses and non-profits. He is passionate about learning, growing, and helping people be the best leaders and people they can be.
You can follow Thomas on LinkedIn here.
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