It’s a well-known fact that first impressions can really count. How you come across the first time you meet someone can shape how they feel about you, and thus have a real impact upon your whole relationship. And nowhere is this truer than in the world of work.
When interviewing, networking or simply meeting colleagues, a great first impression is essential. Here are some top tips for how that can be achieved.
Set an Intention
It’s important to go into interactions knowing what you’d like to accomplish from them.
Setting a clear goal in your mind before embarking on an interview or meeting will help you stay focused, and make your ambitions more attainable. It’ll also focus your mind and help you remain calm – all great news for a first impression.
It almost goes without saying, but be on time. There’s nothing more likely to make you seem both unprofessional and fundamentally unlikeable than arriving late.
No excuse will undo the damage to your first impression, so just avoid it at all costs.
Although you shouldn’t turn up looking too image-focused, a polished image will lend an impression of effort.
Tuck in your shirt, polish your shoes, and become instantly more appealing.
Another superficial thing that can really aid a first impression is a smile.
It shows positivity, makes people comfortable around you and gives you an air of quiet confidence – all really beneficial.
Meeting new people, particularly in a professional setting, can be really nerve wracking. Staying calm is essential. Don’t talk too fast, ramble, or remain totally silent.
Remember, people are just people and there’s nothing to really be afraid of.
Going into a first meeting with memorised answers and a forced grin will make you appear robotic. Try to retain a natural demeanour while projecting professionalism.
Seeming fake or forced won’t do you any favours.
Powerful Body Language
Although it’s a cliché, a good handshake can really help you out. Stand tall, and look others in the eye. And don’t stand with your arms crossed – it looks defensive and will make people want to avoid speaking to you.
Focus on Others, Not Yourself
If you’re spending a whole meeting worrying about how you’re coming across, you won’t properly connect with anyone there.
Try to listen to what others are saying a react to them, rather than staying stuck in your own head. You’ll seem more switched-on and personable.
If used appropriately, compliments really can help a person warm to you almost instantly. But don’t overdo it, which can seem false, and make sure the compliments are professional and relevant, or you’ll seem improper.
For the most part, people really love talking about themselves. So give them ample opportunity by asking them questions.
For everything you say about yourself, try to follow with a “and what about you?”. This opens the floor and initiates comfortable, balanced dialogue.
It’s likely you’ll have at least something in common with the person you’re meeting. If you can find it, you’ll connect better with the person and be more likely to stick in their mind.
Plus, it’ll give you an easy “in” for the next conversation.
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