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How to Make a Good First Impression

Don’t judge a book by its cover. We’ve all heard it. This is lousy advice when walking through a bookstore. You’re going to make some judgments before reading the book. And yes, you will look at the cover. 

You might wish you could look into someone’s soul to learn everything about them. In reality, we don’t get that opportunity anywhere close to the first time meeting. Everyone is going to make judgments and come up with ideas about the other person. This helps us to interact and communicate.

Of course, those books in the bookstore have well-thought-out covers and back cover summaries. So let’s make sure your cover is looking good before we send you off to join the masses. Here are 7 tips to inspire how to make a good first impression. 

1 - Be On Time

While you’re in the bathroom worrying about your hair, you might be missing one of the most important aspects of making a good first impression. One of the first things someone will make a judgment about is if you’re interested in them. Being on time communicates that you value them and the meeting. You made it a priority in your day. 

What this doesn’t look like:

Searching for parking when you're supposed to be meeting. There’s nothing wrong with showing up early so you can get your ducks in a row. 

2 - Be Attentive

Now for the follow-through. You showed up on time and now that you are with them, are you interested in what they’re saying? 

What this looks like:

  • eye contact
  • asking them questions
  • not interrupting
  • speaking clearly

All these things let the other person know that you are fully present and that they matter. I bet you’re starting to catch on to the secret to how to make a good first impression. It’s all about making the other person feel good. If you make them feel good, they will remember you. 

3 - Be Confident

You may be the most confident person in the room, but if you don’t look like it, you’re not impressing anyone. When it comes to first impressions, looks play the biggest role. 

What this looks like:

  • a firm handshake
  • not fidgeting 
  • standing up straight
  • knowing what you want to say 
  • an open and inviting posture 

Your social interactions will be much more successful if you’re able to start off strong. So, even if you don’t feel confident right now, learn how to look like you are.  

4 - Start with Casual Conversation

Nobody loves small talk, but it’s generally necessary. It makes the other person comfortable when you start with easy communication. If you’re having a business meeting, and you jump right into business, you aren’t seen as valuing the other person. You are prioritizing your needs. You want to make the other person feel comfortable. They want to know they are talking to a human and not a business robot. 

5 - Watch Your Emotions

Now if you are someone who spent 30 minutes looking for parking, everyone doesn’t need to hear about your frustration. A simple apology for being late is fine. Don’t dump the negative emotions of your day on the other person. At least, not at the first meeting. Save the vent for your best friend and focus on the person you’re meeting right now.  

6 - Dress to Impress 

You were wondering when we would say it. Yes, before you even open your mouth, the other person has come up with ideas about you based on how you look. According to a study done by the Dollar Shave Club, you only have 27 seconds to make a first impression. 69% of people said they make a first impression before the other person speaks. 

So go ahead and dress to impress. More importantly, dress appropriately for the occasion. This can be tricky when you aren’t sure how casual or how professional to dress. When you’re not sure, dressing up a notch is usually your safest bet.  

7 - Be Yourself 

I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, but what does it mean? If you’re frustrated about parking, isn’t letting that out being yourself? Being yourself doesn’t mean getting rid of any social filter. It simply means being happy with the other person knowing who you are. 

There’s no reason to avoid mentioning mistakes. Similarly, don’t tell an exaggerated story to make yourself seem more interesting. If you’re genuine in your interaction, then you’ll be happy if the other person gets to know who you are. 

This lets the other person know that you’re honest and that you value the relationship. When you come off as inauthentic, the other person may not trust you. 

The Secret to Making a Good First Impression 

Being prepared for the meeting or social event will always make that first impression come out better. If you’re confident in how you look and what you’re doing, your conversation will come out much smoother. 

So, before you get there, focus on yourself. Check your punctuality, confidence, emotions, and appearance. Once you’re with the other person, focus on them. Don’t make the conversation about you, make it about them. Other people are thinking about you much less than you are. The secret to making a good first impression is in how you make the other person feel. Make them feel important. 

That’s it. Now go make some plans. 

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