In almost all life situations, we want to leave a positive impression with people when we first meet them. Whether you’re establishing a new business contact or meeting your future in-laws for the first time, first impressions matter. Remember, you never have a second chance to make a first impression!
Follow these tips to make a great and memorable first impression:
- Have a pleasing appearance. Even though attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder, it’s still important to look your best. Clean, wrinkle-free clothing, brushed and styled hair, and light or no fragrance helps most people be at their best. If you wear make-up, you know it doesn’t take much to enhance your appearance.
- Make eye contact and smile. In some cultures, making eye contact doesn’t indicate good rapport. However, in American culture, people make positive connections with each other by looking each other in the eyes. If you don’t, the person you’re meeting for the first time may think you have something to hide!
- Also, a smile makes you look appealing and friendly. You look more open to others when you’re smiling in a natural and relaxed way.
- Pay attention and listen. When you’re out in public or socializing at a party with new people, distractions are bound to happen. But when you’re meeting someone new, make an effort to pay attention and focus on what’s being said. When you listen well, you show genuine interest in the person.
- Refer to the new acquaintance by name. In most situations, it’s beneficial to you to be seen as focused, a good listener, and polite. Using the new person’s name in your conversation helps accomplish all of these things. Plus, using their name will help you remember it later.
- Initiate conversation with a positive comment. Making a positive impression means that people will have good thoughts when they remember you by something you did or said. Consider these examples of ways to start a verbal exchange with a new acquaintance:
- “Sharon, I saw the drawings you did for the local Boys’ Club campaign. They’re amazing. How did you come up with such an incredible visual?”
- “Kevin, I heard from Julie that you’re quite the fisherman. Where are the good fishing spots around here?”
- “Pam, Bill always speaks so highly of the work you do. How long have you been working at the James Corporation?”
- Be sincere. Be yourself whenever first meeting someone. People tend to sense when others are putting up a front or behaving in ways that aren’t natural for them. Being genuine is a quality everyone wants to see. If you’re sincere, your new acquaintance will sense that.
Because you never know what might blossom between you and a new acquaintance, put in the effort to make a positive first impression. Try some of the tips above or think about techniques that may have worked for you in the past. You’ll make a great first impression and perhaps even pave the way for a successful business venture or a life-long friendship.