Did you know that all it takes to make a first impression of someone is a glance at their face? According to research, it only takes some milliseconds to create an opinion of your character. A brief period is insufficient to fully assess a person’s character. But when we first meet someone, it’s only normal for us to assume certain things about them. Additionally, we become emotionally tied to our early perceptions of other people and struggle to change them even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
You only get one chance to create a good first impression, as the saying goes. Every time you engage in conversation with a new person, they assess you and form an opinion of you. These first impressions frequently set the tone for the relationship that follows and can be very difficult to change or undo. Consequently, you must understand how to make a terrific first impression. To assist you in doing this, this article offers some helpful advice.
Why is the first impression so important?
The first impression you give will have an impact on every relationship you have. People are more likely to feel at ease around you if their initial impression of you is one of friendliness, competence, and reliability. Then, they are more inclined to regard you as a friend and confide in you. The more people you meet, the more probable it is that they will remember you and tell their friends and coworkers about you. Making a good first impression, therefore, affects your networking.
The effects of this form of social capital can be profound on both your personal and professional lives. Your positive reputation will spread among others. Competence will give others confidence in your skills and abilities if it comes across in the initial impression you make. They are more likely to have faith in your ability to carry out the tasks you’ve been given and accomplish the objectives you’ve established. This may give you more flexibility in how you carry out your duties and meet your objectives.
Making eye contact, but knowing where to stop
A nonverbal method of communicating is eye contact. Making eye contact with the person you are speaking to is interpreted as a sign of sincerity and respect. Maintaining eye contact also demonstrates that you are listening to what the other person is saying and are paying attention to what they are saying. Before speaking, make an effort to make eye contact, and keep it up during the conversation. However, you must understand the distinction between making eye contact and staring someone down.
Look someone in the eye, but don’t go overboard. Eye contact helps people connect, but too much of it can come across as aggressive or unsettling to the other person. You should make eye contact throughout the introductions, but you don’t have to keep it during the entire talk. Throughout the talk, alternate making and breaking eye contact.
Few social graces demonstrate as much respect and boost confidence in others as listening. People enjoy feeling understood. Making eye contact, smiling or nodding to demonstrate engagement, and reacting to what the other person is saying instead of with your agenda are all ways to demonstrate that you are paying attention. First impressions may make or break your success at the first meeting, whether you’re networking with potential clients or attending a job interview. By dressing the part, being positive, and being present with the other person, you can increase your chances of swaying a favorable response.
Balancing pitch and tone of your voice
If you prefer to “uptalk” or utilize a rising inflection at the end of your sentences, a high-pitched voice can make you sound clumsy or uneasy. Studies have shown that rising intonation makes people appear less knowledgeable, regardless of what they are saying. On the other hand, a Brigham Young University study found that speedier presenters are perceived as having more confidence. Even though you’re speaking quickly, try to avoid using filler words like “um,” “ah,” “like,” and other similar expressions because they indicate reluctance. To train yourself, try rehearsing in front of a camera without using those filler words.
No matter how little you care about fashion or style individually, what you wear counts. The relative level of formality of the person or organization you are dealing with should be matched or slightly exceeded, regardless matter whether it is business formal, extremely informal, or somewhere in between.
"You are your brand, especially if you're a business owner, so it's crucial to make sure your appearance conveys your best self." Laurel Mintz, CEO of Elevate My Brand, explains.
Try including one accessory that can be viewed as distinctive or even a conversation starter if you want to showcase your personality. This could be anything, such as a special item of jewelry, a stylish tie, or a pair of amusing socks. However, Make sure your attire is suitable for the occasion. A job interview may give the appearance that you aren’t serious about the position if you are dressed too casually.
Being authentic to yourself
Knowing your talents and limitations and being careful in how you share them are essential components of authenticity. 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 weaknesses demonstrates your self-awareness.
However, be careful not to overstate your flaws. The “report card dilemma” and exposing flaws and how to address them might seem shockingly obvious, yet failing to do so could result in you emphasizing just the negatives, or at the very least making them the majority of your overall impression. Even though you don’t want to hide any flaws (people will probably figure them out nonetheless), you do want to be honest and move on to the positives, especially when a business relationship is just getting started.
Bonus tip: don’t forget to follow up
Don’t forget to follow up after an initial meeting by emailing any relevant documents, such as notes, presentation materials, the following steps, etc., or by writing a thank-you note. These little things will show that you’re paying attention and that they’re more important to you than simply another item on your to-do list. After a meeting, sending out updated information might be another approach to making a good first impression. How so? It is beneficial to display several sides of you or your company, possibly more responsible ones.
Don’t let a bad first impression prevent you from getting to know someone. To make sure that your first meeting with someone won’t be your last, remember these eleven pieces of advice.