First impressions matter and stick out in people’s mind for a long time. So how do you make sure you’re making the right first impression? Read these 6 tips so you know how to impress people right from the start.
First impressions are key to your success, whether you’re a professional, entrepreneur or otherwise. Research shows that others form a first impression of within seconds of meeting you, and that the impact of a first impression leaves a lasting mark.
In other words, your first impression makes all the difference for your career, your relationships and your overall results.
So how do you make sure that you’re making the right first impression?
Use these 6 tips when you’re meeting someone new for the first time, so you can ace that initial meeting and leave a solid lasting first impression that impresses the heck out of everyone you meet.
#1. Do Your Homework
When you’re going to you meet with someone new, whether it’s a potential employer, new client or otherwise — do your homework.
Do a quick Google search on who you’re meeting, check out their social media profiles, any news related content you can find and be ready with at least 2 – 3 talking points when you do meet. Not only does this help steer your conversation, the other person will be incredibly flattered and impressed that you’ve taken the time to prepare.
Basically, you want to know:
- who you’re meeting with,
- what they care about, and
- what they might need from you.
Your goal is to show the other person you have skills to help solve a problem and/or achieve a goal that matters to them. Remember that you want to create talking points that demonstrate you’re interested in what this other person is all about, not spouting off your resume or achievements.
#2. Show You’re Interested
It happens to everyone. When you meet someone new for the first time, it’s normal to have a bit of anxiety or nervousness. The thing is, you don’t want to let that show because it tends to make the other person feel anxious and nervous too!
When you meet someone new, try to send a clear message that you’re confident, comfortable and interested in what they have to say by being mindful of your body language.
Did you know that experts estimate nearly 90% of all communication is non-verbal? This means that what you are saying with your body language is a major factor in your first impression.
One of the best-kept secrets to creating confident body language is to use ‘power body poses’ about 20 minutes before your meeting. Try taking long strides, maintain a straight posture and walk with your chest held high to boost your confidence before the meeting.
Then, while you’re having your meeting, be sure to maintain eye contact with the other person, avoid crossing your arms or slouching and try to imitate their body language to build rapport right from the start.
#3. Know Yourself
It’s incredibly helpful to know what others perceive your strengths and best skills to be, so you can have a few examples to share with others. Ask your trusted confidants what professional and personal skills are most likeable about you, and play those up.
Are you funny? Do you have amazing ideas? Are you attention-oriented?
Pick your top 3-5 skills and be prepared with a few stories so if the situation arises, you can share your best most likeable traits with newcomers to your circle.
#4. Find Common Ground
Building a relationship with others isn’t easy, especially at the start. One of the fastest shortcuts to building rapport is to find common ground with others.
Look for clues about anything you can share interests in with the other person. Whether it’s business-related or even a devotion for a sports team, or an admiration for a particular historical figure – whatever you can find to share enthusiasm about is basically conversational gold.
#5. Create Conversation
The most common mistake people make when trying to make a good impression is that trying to impress the other person with knowledge, when in fact, what impresses other the most is your ability to be engaging and create a great conversation.
You want to have a back and forth that keeps the other person interested, so you’re adding value to the conversation but more importantly, you’re engaging the other person. This means you should be listening more than you’re talking, and you should ask questions and truly engage.
The most under-looked aspect of the first impression is the follow-up.
Once your conversation is over, you must follow-up to show that this was a meaningful and interesting interaction for you too. A quick email a few days after your meeting about a discussion point from when you met goes a really long way. For example, follow-up on a tip the other person shared to show you looked into it, share a resource, make mention of how you enjoyed meeting them and leave it at that.
Here’s an amazing interview scene from “The Pursuit of Happyness”, a biographical movie about broker Chris Gardner. In this scene, despite his ragged appearance, Will Smith showcases effective first impression skills. By knowing himself, finding a common ground and expressing profound interest; Smith is able to eventually secure the position. Spoiler Alert!
Use these 6 tips when you’re meeting someone new so you can showcase your best skills and build lasting relationships with a solid first impression that lasts.