There are many occasions in life where it’s important to make a good first impression. Whether you’re going to an important job interview, meeting a partner’s family for the first time, or applying for a loan, the way you come across during this first meeting can influence how you’re remembered for a long time.
Fortunately, your first impression isn’t up to chance. You can come across positively when first meeting someone with just a few simple tricks.
Make Eye Contact
Have you ever met somebody who wouldn’t look you in the eye? Not making eye contact with somebody is a bad way to begin an acquaintance. If you don’t look somebody in the eye, you may come across as lacking confidence — or even worse, as if you’re being dishonest about something.
As a species, humans use gaze to converse. When you’re walking towards a stranger on the street, the direction of your gazes helps you both avoid a collision. When you’re meeting somebody for the first time, holding their gaze shows you’re paying attention and you value the interaction. It establishes you as a person who should be respected.
Making eye contact with a stranger can be difficult, particularly if you’re nervous about the interaction. If making eye contact doesn’t work for you, try looking directly above, below, or between the person’s eyes. Be sure to not look at the ground or off into the distance, as you may come off standoffish.
Dress for Success
The way you dress for a first meeting can be enough in itself to make a positive impression. It’s good to err on the side of caution if you’re not sure what the appropriate dress for an occasion is. Dress slightly more formally than you may have to. Don’t dress overly formally, but simply wear something mature and fairly conservative. Some people have strange hangups about clothes — whether you understand their reasoning or not, it’s good to respect their feelings.
If possible, ask somebody what the appropriate outfit for the occasion will be. When in doubt, accessorize! Implement bow-ties, scarves, hats, and more. The right accessories can make an outfit both stylish and mature, perfect for making a positive first impression.
When you’re nervous, it can be easy to let your mind wander. Don’t let it, or you risk coming across rude, or as if you don’t value the person you’re meeting. Active listening is a skill you must work at to do well.
If you’re at a job interview and your interviewer asks you a question that confuses you, don’t panic. Use your active listening skills to restate the question and confirm with your interviewer you got it right. It’s much better to repeat the question incorrectly and have it clarified than to just give an answer unrelated to the question.
When you’re listening, don’t think of what you’re going to say next. Simply take in what the person is saying. Once they are finished, you can compose your response thoughtfully.
Making a good first impression is a skill that can help you in all parts of your life. Practice these tips to come across mature, intelligent, and likeable the next time you’re being introduced.