People won’t necessarily remember what you look like or what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel. So when it comes to making the best first impression you should keep that at the forefront of your mind. It’s actually not all about you, shocking I know.
Remember that most people are focused on themselves. How do they feel? Are they making a good impression? If you can make them feel comfortable, respected, admired even, then you will give the impression of a lifetime. If you combine this with making sure you’re well presented, then you’re on you way to making the best first impression.
Here are some of the most helpful tips outlined below.
Eye contact can be tricky to master. Not only can it be uncomfortable for some, but even if it doesn’t bother you it can be difficult to know where to look, for how long, and with which intensity. It is important though, because it not only shows you’re confident, but that you’re interested in the other person.
Try to keep it an easy balance by breaking up the eye contact with blinking and occasionally glancing away. You don’t have to glance across the room, just a few inches to the side as if you’re thinking. You want to break it up so as not to invade someones personal space by holding you’re gaze for too long.
If you’re unsure try to mimic the other person. When they look away, you look away, when they look at you, look at them. You can follow their lead, but keep a slight pace behind them or it will be obvious you’re copying.
Smiling will instantly make you more attractive to someone. They are more likely to view you as warm, happy and open to friendship. People want to be around happy people so this one thing will help people gravitate towards you.
Make it About Them
When you talk try to listen more than you speak. Ask questions and here’s the trick, actually listen to the answers. We may be great at carrying on a conversation, mastering small talk, but how many of us actually listen to what the other person is saying. We treat conversation like a game, always planning our next move, crafting our next sentence before our opponent has even finished theirs.
Don’t be afraid to leave a couple seconds of silence in between thoughts, it can subtly show you’re taking the interaction seriously and putting in actual consideration. Even if it’s on a subconscious level people can tell if someone is genuinely listening. Of course a pleasant interaction has a two way streak, but at least when making a fist impression try to make it more about them.
Body language can show more about your personality than what you say and what you look like. It’s difficult to have good posture when your arms are crossed or you’re looking at your shoes. So head up, arms down, and glide through the room like you’re the guest of honor, a modestly gracious guest of honor.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but let’s be honest, we all do. People are going to judge you by the way you appear so make sure you appear the way you want to be perceived. Wear something that accentuates your best features and makes you feel comfortable and confident. Be sure your hair, nails, and makeup are well managed and regardless of the style you’re wearing be sure everything is pressed and clean.
You don’t have to read the New York Times cover to cover, but brushing up on current events is ideal prepping for social situations. Skim through the BBC or CNN headlines, just make yourself aware of the top stories, and don’t just focus on the boring news. Brush up on pop culture, read some gossip blogs before heading to the cocktail party. Aside from being educated in the classics a lady should always have her finger on the pulse of current events. Whether those events are the Syrian crisis or Mariah Carey’s latest lip synching fiasco.
Keep an Even Pace.
You want your demeanor to convey someone who is confident, at ease and charmingly open. To do this you want to be aware of how your body moves. If you’re pacing around or fidgeting you’ll appear nervous or hyper, if your movements are slow and sloth-like you may appear lazy or uninterested. You want to keep a naturally controlled pace. The way you walk, shake hands, take a seat, all movements should look confident and smooth.
Consider Your Audience.
If possible research the crowd that will be in attendance so that you’re aware of the “types” of people that you’ll be meeting. Are they casual, intellectual, hipster, vegan? I’m not saying you must conform your identify to fit and impress whomever you’re speaking with, but it’s polite to consider the environment you’re in and the general opinions of others. You may not agree or connect with someone, but you don’t want to offend. You can still make a great impression without becoming best friends.
HOMEWORK: Practice these tips by play-acting them out. Pretend you’re meeting someone for the first time and hold a mock conversation. It may feel odd, but it’s well worth the practice. If you have any other useful tips that could lead to a fantastic first impression please share them with us in the comments!