First impressions count a lot in life and you only get one chance to make a good one. People make assumptions and decide how they feel about you within the first encounter and develop biases within the first minute. It will take on average 20 future encounters to fix a poor first impression, which is even more of a reason to learn how to make yourself stand out in a positive light with everyone you meet. In today’s society it’s not about what you know it’s about who you know. Their perception of you is the reality to their network and to them.
First Impression Body Language
Individuals communicate more with their bodies than most of us realize. So we need to be aware and proactive in our approach to make sure we are well received.
Key Things to Remember
Make Eye Contact: This is a way to communicate that you are listening and focused on the other person.
Open Body Language: By this I mean to not have your hands crossed or your body hunched over. Stand with good posture with your head up.
Smile: A smile can make a huge difference and make it easy for people to approach you. However a stare and constant smile can be deterring.
Be Expressive & Initiate Contact: Feel free to use hand expressions if that’s your type of personality and have confident hand shake. In dating and life people respond more to body language than words.
Be Responsive: Be sure to provide reactions to what people are saying with your tone of voice, inflections, and mannerisms. People want to know that they are being heard.
Listen Before you Speak
Be aware of your surroundings and whom your audience consists of. In a professional setting it would be inappropriate to talk using slang or jargon in most workplaces. However in media, entertainment, or start-up ventures it’s often more laid back with dress code and communication style. Once you put something out there or express an opinion it’s hard to retract the statement. This is especially true if you put it on your social media outlets. People will take the liberty to add undertone or connotations on what you say so make sure to keep things simple and clear so it will not be misinterpreted. Once you have a solid understanding of who you are speaking to and their opinions and the rationale behind them interject your thoughts, philosophies and ideas in a non threatening manner. You will come off as insightful but still aware and respectful of other beliefs and practices. Be well articulated and avoid filler words like umm, like, and I mean.
Dress the Part
You should be similar to an actor with how you dress and for different occasions have a variety of looks. Obviously showing up in jeans and t-shirt will not go over well for a job interview. Neither will wearing an old suit or one that does not fit well. The best standard for this is to go with what your target audience wears or what the norm dress code for the venue you are going to is. If you want to show some additional flair consider something like cuff links, jewelry, or a watch.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s a date, business meeting, or just a casual get together with friends you should make the most with each first impression. Try to use these tips and if you have any additional advice share it with us.