First impressions are everything. It has literally been scientifically proven.
First impressions are also lasting impressions so you can see why they are so important.
Here are 7 ways to make sure you nail that first impression.
1) Body Language
The way you’re standing or sitting can send a lot of signals to the person you’re talking to. Having tense body language (think arms crossed, turned away, not being very expressive) can give the wrong idea and make you quite forgettable.
Try having your feet pointed forward, arms loose (so you can reach out for a handshake or gesture appropriately with your hands), shoulders relaxed, and chin at a neutral position. All of these will ensure you’re sending the right signals.
We all know that handshakes can be a big deal. They can show friendliness, respect, and confidence… or lack thereof.
Walk up without hesitation, try to make eye contact, reach out with a firm (but not bone-crushing!) handshake and make sure you’re listening to what they say.
This can also be a great chance to provide value (without getting anything in return). Check out the next tip to see how!
3 ) Providing Value
Providing value will make you stand out among all the others.
Most people look or ask for things before they offer anything up. Being a helper first is much rarer and more valuable. You’ll end up helping yourself more than you think just by asking someone, “How can I help you?”.
Also, try writing on the back of their business card one way you’re going to follow-up with them. This makes you look more engaged and interested and definitely will leave them with a great first impression.
4) Say “Thank You”
I know what you’re thinking: “Duh.”
But often people forget how important a simple “thank you” can really be. Showing some appreciation can be a super simple and quick way to stand out and leave that oh-so-important lasting first impression.
A small verbal acknowledgment that you appreciate someone’s time may be the difference between you and the other 30 (or 100) people they meet that day.
Another thing people probably don’t think about is how much the way you’re dressed and how you look in general can affect people’s first impressions. It can even go so far as to what color you’re wearing!
Put on your outfit and get a second opinion from someone you trust to be honest with you. Each piece is important. For men, think about what your watch says about you. For women, pay attention to earrings and even purses.
You want to make sure everything (including your hair) says what you want it to say about you.
Don’t forget about personal hygiene, either!
6) Opening Lines
Opening lines can play a big part in how you’re perceived. Something off the cuff may be fine if it’s a casual conversation, but if you’re in a networking position, try to do a little research first.
Say they went to the same school as a friend of yours. This can be a great opening line! Just don’t be creepy about it. Something along the lines of “Hey! I read you went to (insert school here). So did my friend, So-and-so.”
If it’s someone totally new or that you didn’t know you’d meet, make sure you keep your opening line warm and friendly. Asking where they are from or what school they attended can be a great start!
6) Share a compliment
If you don’t like the opening line strategy from above, try giving a (real) compliment. This could possibly require some research as well but may feel more natural than mentioning something more personal.
Maybe you run into someone whose company just hit an impressive milestone. Try something along the lines of, “Hey! I heard about (milestone here). That’s great! I’d love to hear what you did to get there.”
Or maybe someone has a reputation that proceeds them. “I’ve heard a lot about you and if all of it’s true, then you’re doing things right.” could be an idea.
Once again, if you decide to use this approach, make sure you’re genuine. People can tell if you’re being fake.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to create a stellar and memorable (for the right reasons) first impression!
If you need help nailing that first impression, especially in an interview, reach out! We’re here to make sure you’re converting interviews to offers! We specialize in optimizing your job search from the tools you need to land those interviews like your resume and LinkedIn profile to landing your dream job including motivation coaching, interview coaching, and everything in between. Sign up for your FREE 30 minute consultation here.