How To Make A First Impression That Counts
You only get one opportunity to form a first and lasting impression – make sure you use it wisely. Just as you evaluate new professional contacts on your first-time encounter with them, others will judge you by how you conduct yourself. You never want to give people an inauthentic impression – many people can intuitively feel if someone is being fake immediately. So, use these five tips to help you put your best foot forward and make a killer first impression.
Present your best self
Physical appearance does matter, and people will take yours into account when making initial judgments. Make sure that what you are wearing and your personal grooming says what you want it to say to the people you are meeting for the first time. Be conscious of your posture and your facial expressions. Do you look approachable? Don’t forget to make eye contact and smile. Like a solid handshake, a friendly and sincere smile can carry a lot of weight.
Practice active listening
Active listening is a skill you can practice and improve by focusing all your attention and interest on whoever you are communicating with. A great rule of thumb for any conversation is to listen 75% of the time and speak 25%. Allow others the time to fully express themselves before jumping in. Don’t interrupt or attempt to finish their sentences. Active listening will help you establish trust and rapport with your new connection.
Don’t let your mood dictate your manners
Feeling depressed or anxious? We all have bad days. Others will pick up on your mood from your expressions, tone of voice and body language. If you are unable to turn that frown upside down, you will not succeed in making that good first impression. Focus your efforts on achieving positive outcomes by exercising or engaging in a creative activity you enjoy to turn a bad day into a good one.
Be interested and interesting
If you are truly interested in meeting people and are open to learning about who they are, they will get this in a first impression. Authenticity is key. By opening yourself up to all that you can learn from others, you can live a more fulfilling life, regardless of whether your motivations are professional or personal. Truly engage with people and be genuine – you will make connections that can create new opportunities you never thought possible.
As the saying goes, “be yourself, everyone else is taken”. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, don’t try to be someone you’re not. If you don’t know the answer to something they ask, don’t fake it. The ability to lean in to your weaknesses shows that you are self-aware. Be honest, relax and be your fabulous self.
What do you think?
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. What are your tips for making a killer first impression? I’m interested to learn how you ensure the first time you meet someone won’t be the last. Comment your views below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Entrepreneur; Forbes; HubSpot; Inc.; MindTools and The Telegraph