First impressions matter! The people you meet can have a significant impact on your future. Other students, colleagues, bosses, and hiring managers can impact your future in some way.
A first impression is how people will continue to see you for a long time. If you mess up a first impression, you may not get a second chance to fix it. If you do get a chance to fix a bad first impression or if you want to try to fix a first impression, it'll be challenging and may not be successful.
Let's discuss what a first impression is and why they matter. I’ll also give you ten tips on how to make a good first impression. Keep reading to learn how to make powerful first impression.
What Is a First Impression?
To know how to make a good first impression, you need to know what a first impression is. According to the American Psychological Association, a first impression is
“one’s initial perception of another person, typically involving a positive or negative evaluation as well as a sense of physical and psychological characteristics. Such impressions are based on the earliest information received about a person, often through a direct encounter, and tend to persist, even in the face of later information that outside observers would consider inconsistent with the initial perception.”
Why Do First Impressions Matter?
First impressions matter because how people first perceive you can affect your job, relationships, and opportunities. If you create a bad first impression, it can be hard to improve your relationship. According to Psychology Today, this is because
“When we see someone doing something, we tend to think it relates to their personality rather than the situation the person might be in.”
For example, what if you go into a job interview and you look sloppy? Your clothing is wrinkled, and you've spilled some food on it. The hiring manager may think you're a sloppy person. This bad first impression of looking sloppy could cause the hiring manger to think you're sloppy in everything you do. It could keep you from getting that job.
Most job interviews won’t give you a second chance. It’s the same with relationships. If you meet someone for the first time and you give a bad first impression, they aren’t going to form a relationship with you. When you make an excellent first impression, people are more likely to give you opportunities in life.
10 Tips on How to Make a Good First Impression
Making a good first impression is essential. Here are ten tips on how to make a good first impression:
1. Prepare Ahead
When you meet a new person and want to make a good first impression, try doing some research. If you've got a job interview and want to make a good first impression, research the company. Research what the job you’re applying to does. If you're working with a new client and want to make a good first impression, research what they may need from you.
You want to show the client or hiring manager that you understand their problem and use your skills to help them. Try preparing two or three talking points. This shows them that you're prepared but also not overly prepared. These talking points should showcase your knowledge, show your strategies to solve their problem, and that you understand the company or situation.
2. Know Your Strengths
Another tip on how to make powerful first impression is to know your strengths. Everyone has a strength. Ask a trusted friend if you aren’t sure what your strengths or winning traits are. For example, if people compliment you on being good at managing people, then look for evidence for that and present that evidence in a job interview. This is a way to show your strengths without bragging.
3. Arrive Early
If you want to make a good first impression, arrive early to your meeting or job interview. When you arrive on time, you send a message to the person you’re meeting with that you're responsible, respectful, and care about the meeting. Plus, arriving early is the best option. You can use the extra time to check your appearance and mentally prepare in a bathroom before the meeting.
4. Find What You've Got in Common
If you want to make a good first impression, finding what you've got in common with the people you'll be meeting with is one of the best methods. This method can work in most situations. To find out what you've got in common with other people you’ll have to pay attention to them. Ask them about topics like the following:
- Does the person like a specific sports team?
- Maybe they love visiting a certain country?
- Do they have kids?
When you find something in common with another person, you create a connection to them. Small talk is a great way to discover common connections with others.
5. Be Aware of Your Body Language
It’s normal to be nervous, especially when you need to make a good first impression. Even when your nervous you need to be aware of your body language. Besides your appearance body language is the next thing people notice about you. You should have relaxed and confident body language.
If you’re worried that you're worried about your body language, try practicing in front of a mirror. You can also film yourself to look at your body language.
While you’re working on making a good first impression, remember to engage with people and be engaging. Many people think to impress others you need to have a lot of knowledge. But you want to make your conversation memorable, not necessarily impressive.
So, listen to the other person carefully then respond appropriately and they'll have a good impression of you. People like to talk about themselves so ask thoughtful and open-ended questions. An example of such a question is, “What are you most excited about now?”
7. Eye Contact
An essential part of how to make powerful first impression is to make eye contact. When you make eye contact, it shows the other person that you're interested in the conversation.
The best times to make eye contact is when others are speaking to you or when you're speaking to someone else. When you make proper eye contact, it can make you seem more intelligent.
8. Communicate Well
This step on how to create good first impression is to communicate well. If you're going into a job interview or meeting, then you’ll need to be able to answer questions. You may even have to answer tough questions.
Preparing ahead is important because it lets you think of a good answer to questions. But you can’t guess every question that people are going to ask. If you’re asked a question and don’t know the answer to the question, you can admit that. There are some strategies you can use when this happens:
- Try admitting you don’t know the answer and will do research and get back to the person.
- Tell the person you’ll discuss the topic later.
- Answer a related question that you know the answer to instead.
The best way to ensure that you communicate well is practice. Whether you meet someone new, present a presentation, or go to a job interview, practice is the best way to communicate well. It helps you work out your answers to any problems and perfect your speech.
9. Dress Right
A general rule for how to create good first impression is to dress slightly better than the occasion calls for. The first thing people notice when they meet you is how you dress. So, a big part of making a good impression is dressing for the occasion. If you're trying for a job interview dressing nicely will improve your personal brand and leave a good first impression.
To dress appropriately for an occasion, you don’t need to have expensive clothes. To dress appropriately for an occasion, you need to consider what outfit or appearance would be the best for an occasion.
For example, don't go to a job interview wearing a t-shirt with holes and stains and torn jeans with unbrushed messy hair. This would make you look sloppy compared to someone who dressed properly for the occasion.
10. Be Polite
Being Polite matters when making a good first impression. Polite people are more memorable because they give a positive first impression. When people are polite, they make others feel comfortable and respected. This makes others want to be around you.
For example, if you're giving a job interview and the person comes in and spits on the ground every five minutes, you aren’t going to want to hire them. Spitting on the ground is not only rude, but also gross.
Also, when you're meeting someone and having a conversation don’t use your phone while they're talking to you because it can be considered rude. If you're on your phone during a conversation it makes the other person feel like you aren’t listening to them.
Plus, when you meet someone, step forward, smile tilt your head down slightly (this is seen as a sign of respect in most cultures). Act like you’re honored to meet them and make eye contact when you shake their hand.
Tips to Remember
Here are some do’s and don’ts of making an excellent first impression:
- Plan Ahead. prepare talking points and answers to any questions ahead of time.
- Gather Feedback. Ask your friends or family what your strengths are so you can use them to create a good first impression.
- Ask Questions. When meeting other people, questions show others that you’re engaged and interested in the conversation.
- Be Tense. It’s essential to have relaxed, confident, and comfortable body language.
- Brush Off Small Talk. Small talk is how you can connect with others. This means small talk can be important.
- Present Evidence. Show Evidence of your strengths. When you show evidence of your strengths, it’s not only proving your strengths but doesn’t seem like bragging.
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Start Practicing Your First Impression Today!
Now that you know how important a first impression is, try practicing your body language to make a good first impression. Since a good first impression can be difficult, try the tips in this article next time, you need to make an excellent first impression.