Whether you’re in a professional or personal situation, making a good first impression is critical. It’s very difficult to walk-back a first impression, but that reality can put a lot of pressure on you.
There are certain things you should do versus not doing if you want to make a great impression, including the following:
Look Well Put Together
It may sound shallow, but the reality is you need to look the part for whatever situation you’re in if you want to make a positive first impression. This might mean that you’re well-groomed so pull out the nose hair trimmer, get a fresh haircut and make sure that you look well-rested and vibrant before any big meeting or encounter.
You want to ensure your clothes look crisp and pressed, and you want to look like someone who takes pride in yourself and your appearance.
If you don’t take pride in yourself and how you appear, it’s could be challenging for someone to trust you.
Manage Your Facial Expressions
When you’re nervous and you’re going into a big first meeting of any type, your face might convey your apprehension or nervousness.
Your facial expressions are important, though, so think about how they might be coming across.
Smiling is a good way to approach people, and nearly 50% of Americans say a smile is the most memorable feature that sticks in their mind after they meet someone for the first time.
While smiling is good, try and make sure it doesn’t come off as inauthentic or arrogant.
There’s a science behind the impact of a smile too. When you smile, it makes other people feel more comfortable and also lowers stress hormones that can have a detrimental effect on your health.
Find Common Ground
Finding something you have in common with a person you’re meeting the first time is a good way to immediately build a sense of connection and a good rapport. This can hold true in any situation, whether it’s a first date or a job interview.
You can do a little research ahead of time to see if you can identify anything you can use as a commonality, or you can try and find something during your first meeting.
Finding something you have in common with another person can also facilitate small talk, and small talk really is valuable to building a personal or professional relationship.
Sometimes when we’re meeting someone for the first time, and we want them to like us and we want to make a good impression, we might talk too much. We could be trying to wow that person with what we know or our experiences, but in reality, it can come off poorly.
Instead of doing all the talking, be engaging by listening as well. People like to talk about themselves, so if you ask open-ended questions it’s going to give them the chance to do just that.
While you want to smile and ask the other person questions, you want this all to come off in a genuine way. If you’re asking the person you’re meeting a question, make it a question you want to know the answer to.
It’s very easy for all of us to register inauthenticity fairly quickly, and it can ruin a first impression.
Be Confident In Your Body Language
Sometimes you see someone come into a room and they just take it over. It’s not necessarily because they’re the loudest, but it can be because of their body language.
You want to stand tall and keep eye contact. You might hear people joking about the power pose in business, but it’s a real thing that can help you make a better first impression.
Think About How You Speak
You want to watch the volume of your voice so that you’re not speaking too softly or loudly. You want to come across as confident without seeming as if you’re trying to dominate the conversation. Speak clearly and evenly and pay attention to the use of slang or having too strong of an accent.
You should also practice how you speak and try to avoid using unnecessary words or filler words.
If you’re not sure what you want to say, rather than trying to fill up the conversation with unnecessary words, just take a pause and compose your thoughts.
Finally, put your phone entirely away when you want to make a positive impression. Seeming distracted or bored is going to leave the person you’re meeting with a bad impression.