Making a Great First Impression
Unfair as it might be, we make our first impression in a matter of moments. It takes just a quick glance, maybe only a few seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanour, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed. These first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first few moments extremely important!
Whether it be a business meeting, a job interview or a meeting a new acquaintance, a few key factors of making a good first impression include:
Being on time is respectful and shows that you value the other persons time as much as your own. Arriving on time or early is the first step in creating a great first impression. Keeping in mind that arriving with an excessive amount of time to spare can also be disruptive, a time has been predetermined for a reason, stick to it.
Present yourself appropriately for the situation that you are in
The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately. Choose an appropriate outfit. You don’t have to be wearing this season’s newest styles, but your outfit does need to be professional and appropriate to the environment you’re going into. What is the appropriate dress for the meeting or occasion? In a business setting, what is the appropriate business attire? Is a suit required or is the organisation more casual? Do some research on the organisation. As a good guideline consider what the person you’ll be meeting is likely to wear.
Appropriate dressing and grooming help make a good first impression and also help you feel “the part”, and so feel more calm and confident.
Smile and be Positive
A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease. Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the case of nervousness.
When it comes to making first impression, body language as well as appearance can speak so much louder than words. Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance. Stand tall, smile, make eye contact, greet with a firm handshake. All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel at ease.
Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time, which can lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms. By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try to keep them in check. Accept that you may be nervous, own it and make the best of any situation that pushes you past your comfort zone.
Imagine that the person you have just met and are talking to is one of your best friends or are already one of your colleagues, you’ll probably adjust unconsciously and start to smile, open up your body-language to a very friendly and warm position and reduce any nervousness in your tone of voice and body-language.
Conversations are based on verbal give and take. In a professional situation, it may help you to prepare questions you have for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. Or, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time before you get together. For instance, do they play golf or work with a local charitable foundation? If all else fails try a compliment.
Attentive & Enthusiastic
It goes without saying that good manners and attentive and courteous behaviour help make a good first impression. In fact, anything less can ruin the one chance you have at making that first impression. Your new acquaintance deserves 100% of your attention. Anything less and you’ll create a less than good first impression.
Show enthusiasm for the opportunity – sound excited to be where you are and ask as many questions as you can. Showing a genuine interest in the other person, their role and the organisation in general shows that you appreciate the opportunity to meet them and aren’t just there to find out what’s in it for you.
Remember, first impressions only happen once, so make sure yours is memorable… for the right reasons.
Tahnee Hrelja | The Money Edge | Bundaberg