Experts claim we only have seven seconds to make an impression on new acquaintances. We have no time to loose when it comes to making a good impression with a potential employer or customer in a business meeting or an event. Below are 5 ways to make a great first impression practiced by successful people.
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Meeting new people in an unfamiliar environment can feel threatening, so a smile is a great way to get some of that edge off. You want to give an impression that you are friendly but not insincere. So do not plaster a fake grin on your face with a blank expression.
Surprisingly, a way to judge a sincere or a genuine smile is revealed in the eyes. If a smile doesn’t quite reach the eyes, it’s easy for someone to dismiss it as insincere. This can take place within seconds so make sure you give a genuine smile that reaches your eyes.
As in everything in life, do not overdo it or you will come across as someone who is too eager to please.
Giving and maintaining eye contact while speaking to a person shows respect and interest. Never allow your eyes to wander across the room or to the buffet table during introductions. Nothing makes a worse first impression than not making eye contact.
You need to connect with the other person, and that’s usually done through eye contact and maintaining it. Having said that, do not end up staring at someone either because that will make you come across as aggressive or even creepy. The general rule to follow is to to maintain eye contact as you say something important such as your name or what you do.
It’s also good to give eye contact as you listen to the other party’s response. You can take a mini break if you are making a sweeping comment about the crowd in the event or the weather. Remember, you want to ensure people that you find them interesting by giving eye contact and not challenge them to a staring contest.
Listen. Listen. Listen
You will find it remarkably interesting that a good listener makes the best first impression. Everyone wants to feel special, and when you shower them with your attention, it makes an impression. Do not dominate a conversation but instead be genuinely interested in getting to know the other party by asking open-ended questions.
Do this naturally in a conversation because it’s not an interrogation. You can give eye contact, nod occasionally, and follow up with a question regarding the previous remark made by the other party to show that you are listening.
Remember not to start thinking about a reply as the other person is still speaking because it will reflect that you aren’t interested anymore.
Humans are sensitive to touch as it’s one of the most intimate senses amongst the five we own. When you shake someone’s hand, it is the first time you touch them so be sensitive about it. You need to find the delicate balance between a gentle squeeze that means you are happy to meet your acquaintance and the dreaded limp fish shake.
Also, how long you hold onto the shake conveys a message too. Learn the natural rhythm when to let go. The rule of thumb is allow the shake to linger for at least three seconds as you introduce yourself.
If you pull your hand away too soon, you will be seen as rude or not keen on meeting the other party. If you hold onto the other party’s hand too long, you can be seen as threatening because you are invading personal space. It’s also good to note that cold and sweaty palms do not make the best impression.
If you happen to have sweaty palms do wipe your hands discreetly before reaching for the other person’s hand.
As you only get seven seconds to make a lasting impression it pays to practice a compelling introduction. A good trick is to say your name twice naturally.
“Hi, I am Matthew. Matthew Yong.”
This way, you have successfully mentioned your name twice, and it will help the other party remember your name better. Aside from your name, you should have a quick introduction to what you do or what your company’s core business is.
Make the introduction simple, succinct, and fast because you don’t have a lot of time during an introduction.
Armed with these five simple and practical tips, you are all set to make a great and lasting first impression!