How To Make The Best First Impression
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Whether you’re going on the first date, a job interview, first day at work or school, or influential business meeting, first impression is what people will remember about you. It’s important to know that first impression is practically not reversible and because of that it’s tremendously crucial to know what to do and how to behave.
If a stranger sees you for the first time, his/her brain will be doing calculations based on some aspects. Research says that it takes 3 to 7 seconds for the other person to “judge” you. They would look at your appearance, your body language and your manners at first. They will be subconsciously questioning themselves if you’re a friend or a foe, if your intentions are true or false, if you’re trustworthy, competent and confident.
We all want to make the best first impression possible, but you only get one chance to make it right, and whether it’s good or bad depends on you. People make decisions under influence of different signals and signs.
We want to be ourselves, but under stress we can make many mistakes. In this article I’ll give you some tips on how to show your best self and how not to come across as a phony.
Rule No 1 - Always be on time
There is really no excuse for being late if you’re meeting someone for the first time. I know that in the movies being late but with a good and creative excuse seems to always work wonders. But in real life it’s almost never like that. You might be remembered as the one who is “always” late, even if it was that one time only. It’s highly advisable that you come few minutes earlier, especially if you don’t know the place. It’s always good to allow some time for possible traffic jams and delays. Being on time is the first step in creating a good first impression.
Rule No 2 - Present yourself well
Wear appropriate clothes, have clean shoes, clean hands, nice hairstyle and pretty smile on your face. It’s important to look smart but not to be overdressed. Think what this meeting is about and how is the other person likely to be dressed. People often focus their attention a person’s hands, especially nails, so make sure they are clean. Smile is very important too. You may consider gentle whitening to have white clean teeth and make sure you check your teeth in the mirror before the meeting, as you don’t want to end up with a piece of spinach between your incisors. Those little things won’t cost you much, but they can make a significant difference in making a first impression.
Rule No 3 - Control your body language
Your words are as important as your body language because your listener will pay attention to both. Your posture tells a lot about your feelings and emotions at the time, so stay or sit straight, but don’t be too stiff. On the other hand, slouching, in addition to being bad for your back, shows lack of confidence. Sitting too straight shows nervousness. Your posture should be straight, but relaxed at the same time. During the conversation you may lean slightly forwards as that shows engagement and being interested in conversation. But remember to respect the other person’s personal space. Try to open with a good handshake, it should be firm but not to tight. Make sure your hands are not sweaty and do not prolong the shake. Gentle smile and eye contact are very appropriate here.
Regardless of the type of your meeting, you want to make a positive first impression that will build trust and encourage further communication. If you keep the above three rules in your mind, you’ll be absolutely fine. Good luck.