Five Tricks To Help You Make a Great First Impression

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James Sorenson

Intern @ GoneWithTheWord

First impressions take only seconds to create. Some studies put it as fast as milliseconds. These impressions can take years to override because our brain’s organizational system doesn’t like to refile data.

Here are five simple things that will help make a solid and successful first impression:

  1. A warm and engaging smile changes the contours of your face. Your eyes crinkle, your teeth flash and your skin shifts to create a welcoming and universally approachable signal to a newcomer.

  2. Eye contact. When you are speaking with someone, make eye contact. Don’t ogle or hold it for too long though. Remember to occasionally break your gaze—but not when the other person is speaking. People appreciate someone who is paying attention to them.

  3. Keep your mouth closed. Too often when people are nervous or in a situation where they are trying to impress (like at a business networking event, for example), they talk too much. Or lick their lips. Or chew gum. Most people like to be listened to rather than talked at. One of the easiest way to make people feel important and connected to you is to let them hold the floor. Ask questions and listen to their answers. They will feel like you are interested and appreciate it. Don’t fidget while listening…and this includes your mouth. 

  4. Avoid interruptions. When you are talking to someone don’t answer your phone, check the time or wave to other people coming into the room. All these things suggest that your attention is divided and suggests that you are not focused on the person with whom you are currently talking. No one likes to feel like they are filler until someone more important comes along.

  5. Memorize. Take the time to remember their name and preferably one important detail about them. This way when you see them later, you can solidify the good first impression you made by addressing them by name, and asking a question that shows that you remember them. For example, if they told you about their children, ask how Little Tommy is doing.

In this fast-paced world, people make impressions faster and faster because we have an increasing amount of stimulus coming at us that needs to be filed away in our memories before the next bit of data appears. Make your file in people’s memories a positive one and they will be more likely to pull it out for future social and professional events.

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