Did you know that a first impression may be formed in as little as a tenth of a second? Therefore, you must be prepared from the outset when meeting someone for the first time. But do you know exactly how to create a good first impression?
Here is a collection of advice to help you put your best foot forward and make a fantastic first impression, whether you are meeting new contacts, team members, possible employers, or consumers.
14 Tips for Making a Good First Impression
1. Arrive Early
In his book Unprotected: A Memoir, actor Billy Porter said, “Fifteen minutes early is on time, on time is late, and late is intolerable.”
Being a few minutes early for a meeting demonstrates your timeliness and allows you some more time to get things ready. Arriving early allows you to evaluate the equipment you're utilizing before making a presentation. Being early for a job interview gives you time to check your elevator pitch with yourself, fix your tie, and fix any untidy hair.
2. Be Empathetic
The capacity for empathy is the capacity to comprehend and experience another person's feelings. When it comes to initial impressions, it might help you come off as friendly. Naturally, you want to act professionally and respect limits. However, establishing a true connection will be aided by demonstrating your understanding of the person or group you're speaking to and your agreement with what they have to say.
Ask inquiries out of real curiosity and listen to comprehend rather than just answer to demonstrate empathy. And be sure to remain attentive and involved in the conversation.
3. Actively listen
The majority of individuals dislike being asked the same question or having to repeat themselves because it makes them feel unheard. Practice active listening if you don't want others to assume you're not paying attention.
Giving the speaker your full attention while focusing on what is being said and its intended meaning is known as active listening. Watch for chances to offer questions that are relevant to the conversation. Do not ask a question that the speaker has already addressed to demonstrate that you are attentive.
4. Be mindful of your body language and posture
When meeting someone for the first time, maintain an open posture. Avoid firmly crossing your arms or legs, clenching your fists, or slumping forward in your seat. To demonstrate that you are paying attention and actively listening, lean in when you speak. Don't be reluctant to occupy some table space. Don't hold back if you frequently make hand gestures or move around to communicate. You don't want to come off as stiff and uneasy.
Be mindful of your posture and body language throughout meetings in general, especially during early pitches or interviews, since these nonverbal indicators can have a strong subconscious influence.
Avoid tapping, excessive face-touching, holding things in front of your face, blinking too much, and sitting or standing too near to other people (respect the bubble, people). Avoiding eye contact and stroking your mouth are two behaviors that might be seen as dishonesty.
5. Modulate your pitch and tone of voice
Particularly if you tend to “uptalk” or employ a rising inflection after your sentences, a high-pitched voice might give the impression that you are tense or childlike. The Corporate Finance Institute claims that if an applicant speaks with an upward inflection during a job interview, the interviewer may assume that they are uneasy or unsure of themselves. This is because sentences with upward inflections seem more like queries than assertions.
Not sure if this applies to you? Try running through your speeches or recording yourself reading. You could be astonished by how different you sound from how you see yourself to others.
Avoid using filler words like “um,” “ah,” and “like,” which indicate hesitancy, and talk clearly and at a moderate speed (not too fast or sluggish). To train yourself, try rehearsing in front of a camera without using filler words.
6. Choose your words wisely
Contrary to popular belief, words matter a lot. The positive and persuading language will frequently open doors and make others feel at ease in your presence, which will ultimately increase their willingness to cooperate with you.
Take the popular television program Mad Men, which is favored by many marketers. Positive language dominated several of Don Draper's strongest pitches, such as those for Carousel and Lucky Strike. However, as Draper shows, uplifting language doesn't have to be corny or fashionable. Instead, by being honest and explicit, positive language may inspire your audience.
This advice is particularly helpful if you're trying to impress during a job interview. Use language that conveys optimism and agency rather than negativity if you want potential employers to see you as upbeat, adaptable, and capable.
7. Dress the part
No matter how little you care about fashion or style individually, what you wear counts. It's important to equal or slightly surpass the relative degree of formality of the person or organization you are meeting with, whether it be business professional, extremely casual, or somewhere in between, even if you want to appear tidy and presentable.
According to Laurel Mintz, CEO of Elevate My Brand, “You are your brand, especially if you are a company owner, thus it is crucial to make sure that your style represents your best self.”
Try incorporating one accessory that can be viewed as distinctive or perhaps a conversation starter if you want to showcase your personality. This might be anything, such as a special item of jewelry, a stylish tie, or a pair of amusing socks.
For example, former television reporter Ken Amaro from Jacksonville, Florida, is renowned for wearing a bow tie whenever he appears on television. Even though he is dressed in the normal professional suit that most reporters wear, the bow tie made him stand out. The Ken Amaro Bow Tie Golf Classic, an annual golf event in Jacksonville, was even named after it.
8. Make eye contact
Pay attention to whomever you are speaking to. Try to make eye contact with everyone in the room since it's difficult to connect with someone when you're staring down at a screen.
However, bear in mind that some individuals could pay more attention to your tongue or any presentation materials you're showing than your eyes if they aren't already persuaded or inclined to be on your side. Maintaining eye contact can be challenging because of this, but if you talk, simply, and with confidence, you should ultimately be able to capture your audience's attention long enough for them to turn to look into your eyes.
9. Know your audience
Make research. If your meeting was scheduled in advance, you should be well-prepared when you arrive by researching the person or organization you will be meeting with. Before you enter the room, Google the people you'll be meeting, the firm founders/cofounders, their history, their rivals, their key products, and any other pertinent information.
Check out the company website or the LinkedIn page of the person you want to speak to to get the background information you require. There are Wikipedia pages for several businesses and organizations as well. Wikipedia has always been questioned for its accuracy, however, you may find a variety of articles, videos, and other sources of information by scrolling down to the “Reference” section of a Wikipedia page.
10. Come prepared
Nothing is worse than an ineffective meeting. Respect everyone's time to leave a good first impression. Plan if you're meeting with someone who works remotely. Is the WiFi on your laptop stable? Is your technology—phone, computer, etc.—charged and functional? If you use a web camera, did you test it?
The last thing you want is for a meeting or interview to go longer than necessary since you have to spend most of the time resolving an embarrassing situation. However, if you're getting things done and everyone has enough bandwidth, it can be alright if the meeting goes on for a while. Just be sure to check in with the group first. Establishing an engaged group of clients or coworkers requires effective meeting time management. Additionally, it demonstrates respect for their schedules.
11. Be authentic
Don't pretend to be someone you're not when you're meeting someone for the first time. Don't pretend to know the answer if you don't if they ask you something. Leaning into your flaws demonstrates your self-awareness.
Don't overstate your inadequacies, though, either. Over-emphasizing flaws and how you may solve them could drive you to concentrate on the negatives, making them the most important aspect of your overall impression.
Even though others will probably find out whatever shortcomings you have, you shouldn't conceal them; instead, you should be honest and focus on your positive traits, especially while building a business partnership.
12. Put your phone away
That also applies to computers, tablets, and other gadgets. Using technology to provide a presentation is one thing, but if it's not necessary, turn off the noises and vibrations on your mobile devices, and put them away. To demonstrate your dedication, focus, and excellent manners, pay the individuals you are meeting for the first time your full and undivided attention.
13. Make a connection
To establish a relationship with someone you are meeting for the first time, pay attentive attention to what they have to say. Getting to know someone outside of work-related topics, such as their birthplace or alma mater, may be a terrific approach to establishing rapport.
Be cautious not to be overly brash. Stick to connections you might have in common and refrain from making improper comments on someone's appearance. Those come across as being more sincere than praise anyhow.
14. Don't forget to follow up
Don't forget to follow up after an initial meeting by delivering any essential documents, such as notes, presentation papers, next steps, or a straightforward thank you email.
These little actions will demonstrate your commitment to the relationships formed and the knowledge exchanged and show that they are more than simply another item on your to-do list.
After a meeting, sending out updated information might be another approach to make a good first impression. How so? It is beneficial to display a different, possibly more responsible, aspect of you or your company. It also gives you the chance to clarify any misconceptions or elaborate on ideas you raised during the first meeting.
Don't allow a bad first impression to prevent you from getting to know someone. To make sure that your first meeting with someone won't be your last, remember these 14 Tips.