10 Tips to Master the First Impression
How long does it take for someone to establish their first impression of you? 10 minutes, 5 minutes or could it be as little as 7 seconds?
Every time you meet someone new, an impression of you is formed. Whether it is a business relationship, or a social one, the first impression you create is often concretely established and difficult to alter or undo.
Numerous studies have been conducted wherein the encoding of a repeated object results in a bias towards the attributes of its first presentation. This demonstrates that when people see something more than once (whether it be a person, place or thing), psychological associations are made with the initial impression made. Essentially, all subsequent exposures to the particular person, place, or thing are clouded by judgment and conclusions made on first impression. This is known in psychology as the primacy effect.
Everything you do after making an initial impression, gets filtered through that impression. In other words, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Here are 10 tips to help you make the right impression, the first time, every time!
Be Proactive, Come Prepared
We have all heard it before, failing to plan is planning to fail. The best results are not reached by merely winging it, but by planning, preparing, and then performing. It has been said that winning is the science of being prepared. This isn’t rocket science. Being prepared ensures you get to present the best version of yourself.
Confidence is Radiance
By being prepared, you will feel at ease in new introductions, giving you a greater feeling of self-assurance. Attitude resonates, and when you exemplify and express self-confidence you assure those around you that you mean business! Confidence often gives you a natural high that allows you to bypass feelings of anxiety. Feeling good is contagious, and when you are confident, not only do people notice, but they can feel it too!
Look the Part
Ensure a well put together image. Nobody likes things that are unkempt. Take the time to manage your image and work to create a style that speaks for itself. Be physically active, and eat healthy, take care of your personal hygiene, and maybe toss on a special tie or some make-up to spruce things up. If you want to be viewed as responsible, organized, and put together then you must look as such.
It’s not always what you say, sometimes it is how you say it! Non-verbal communication is harder to fake because interpersonal communication includes implicit messages, both intentional and unintentional, conveyed through body language. Managing your non-verbal behaviour is critical. Ensure you are mindful of maintaining your posture, but remain relaxed. You don’t want to appear timid, but you also don’t want to appear to uptight.
One of the easiest ways of making someone like you, is to make them think you are the same, or at least very similar. Find some commonalities, such as interests, hobbies, causes, etc., and use these to your advantage. Keep up to date on the news, and ensure you are well-read, this will keep you informed and sharp! People are more receptive to those they feel they can relate to.
Time is of the Essence
If you are meeting someone and there is a pre-established appointment, then do not be late! I repeat, do not be late! This is a sure way to taint any first impression. Not being timely displays disorganization, disinterest, and irresponsibility. Being on time, or even a little early, not only demonstrates organization and responsibility, but also shows eagerness and interest.
Nobody wants to meet a faker, so let your guard down a little bit for once! Don’t try to be inhumanly perfect. Because guess what? Nobody is perfect and we all have flaws! Often times attempting to present yourself as an all around gift from God, makes people suspicious of what you may really be hiding! Don’t be afraid to show some flaws, because not only do flaws make us human, they also make us appear more relatable and similar to those around us. When you seem more natural, it relaxes other and promotes them to act in kind.
Locate a Balance
Notice things, ask questions and share! You don’t want to keep the conversation all about yourself, so ensure you are asking questions, or inciting conversation about interesting topics. Share pieces of information about yourself to appear open and trustworthy, but don’t share too much or you may appear self-absorbed or narcissistic. Show interest and offer value in your conversation.
Exceed All Expectations
Ultimately, think about what you would seek in a first impression, and then surpass that. Reflect on what type of person you would like to meet. How does this person speak, behave and look? What type of person are you more susceptible to? What traits make you feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed in a social situation? Try your best to be the ideal person you would like to meet!
Last but not least, smile! Having a smile on your face is more welcoming, plain and simple! People will be more open to approaching you or engaging with you if you present yourself in a welcoming manner. Everyone has bad days, but it is important to try your best to smile through your distractions to ensure you are not unconsciously pushing away an opportunity!
By: Amberly Martin
Project Manager at Generation Digital Corp.