Need to Make a Great First Impression? Here Are 5 Tips to Get Remembered for All the Right Reasons
Meeting new people can be a nerve-wracking experience. You don’t know if the other person will like you, and finding topics of conversation can be difficult even with people you’ve known for a while.
Whether you’re meeting someone new as part of a job interview, client meeting, or even a first date, your first impression is often the most important part of your future relationship with a person. Make the right first impression and you’re off to a great start; make the wrong one and you’ve got an uphill battle to fight in your relationship with that person.
If you’re getting ready to meet someone for the first time, here are 5 tips to help you get remembered for all the right reasons:
Know Your Context
The first, most important, key to making a great first impression on anyone is to go into the interaction knowing your goals for the meeting.
Are you going into a job interview? Meeting a client for the first time? Going on a first date?
The way you treat someone you’re just meeting for a first date is very different from the way you’d treat a potential employer. Your attitude will be different, your speech patterns may be different, and the things you decide to talk about will be different.
Before you walk into a room with someone new, take stock of why you’re meeting that new person. Think about how you need to dress, behave, and talk when you’re face-to-face with the person you’re meeting.
If you’re walking into a situation where you’re unsure how to behave, it’s often best to err on the side of a little too formal rather than too casual. You always can use future interactions to back away from the formal first impression, but it’s much more difficult to convince someone that you aren’t as careless as you may seem if you walk into a formal setting wearing jeans.
Adjust Your Attitude
Have you ever had a bad day and felt that annoyance and anger bleeding into the rest of your interactions with family, friends, and coworkers?
When you’re hoping to make a good impression on someone - potential employer, client, new friend, or otherwise - you can’t let a bad day, sour mood, or headache get in the way.
Before you head in to meet a new person, take some deep breaths and check in with yourself. If you’re not feeling fantastic, find a way to make an adjustment and fix your attitude. You don’t want to walk into a meeting that could be very important and immediately turn the person off because your bad mood makes them think they’ve done something wrong.
People love talking about themselves, and it’s especially easy to fall into the trap of telling your life story when first meeting someone. But just as much as you like talking about yourself, the person you’re meeting loves talking about themselves, too.
When you’re talking with a new person, find ways to switch the conversation from yourself to them. If you’re in an interview and are asked why you think you’d be a good fit for the position, follow up by asking them what they’re looking for in an ideal employee. On a date, take opportunities when answering direct questions to ask the other person about their experiences and opinions.
Showing interest in the person you’re meeting helps form an immediate connection and makes them feel good, helping improve their first impression of you.
Find Common Ground
As you’re finding opportunities to shift the conversation to the other person, look for things you have in common with them. Finding commonalities helps you form an instant connection and can keep a conversation moving that may otherwise stall.
Does the person come from a similar background as you? Do you enjoy the same types of food, activities, or entertainment?
Use whatever you have in common to launch a new branch of the conversation. You get to talk about something you like, as does the other person, and you can share your individual experiences and potentially learn something new.
No great first impression is complete without a bright, welcoming smile. Smiling immediately puts people at ease and shows that you’re in the right mindset to make a new connection.
Even if your mood isn’t so sunny, do your best to manage a smile at least for the first greeting. You may find that your mood turns around and the smile becomes easier as you continue the conversation.
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