It’s no secret the first meeting is (often) the most important one, so what can we do to increase our chances of leaving the best first impression? Read on.
One of the most important topics for individuals is how can they make the best first impression on someone new. By engaging in the first meeting correctly, proper protocol puts you in control of presenting yourself to others. This first meeting will also determine how others respond, think about, and interact with you. And it all happens in less than ten seconds—not much time to make your mark.
In those ten seconds, people will judge the person’s intentions, abilities, intelligence, attitudes, degree of education, and socioeconomic status. People will also judge the friendliness, trustworthiness, likability, and whether the person is a follower or a leader.
Since the first impression is the most important (and most difficult to change), start with the simplest and most powerful gesture: be on time. Being late to a first meeting is like telling the other person that their time is not as valuable. It begins the encounter with a negative vibe, long before you’ve even met.
Below you’ll find a list of five simple tips to use to make a terrific first impression. All of these should be done within the first few moments of meeting someone new. When you follow these guidelines, the other person is put in a position to feel special and will regard this new person (you!) as an exceptional and kind individual.
The tips may be subtle, but they’re impactful; and subtlety plays a big part in good manners.
1. Evaluate Your Attire & Grooming
You need to be sure your attire projects your personal image. Clothes should reflect how you want others to see you. You should be yourself, while at the same time, making a good first impression. Choose an outfit that you feel good about while wearing, while being comfortable at the same time.
Inspect you hair, make-up, nails, etc. Again, be sure everything projects the image you want to portray to others—the image of your most authentic self. If necessary, get a haircut, trim the beard or mustache, get a manicure, etc.
2. Rise to the Occasion & Get Rid of Barriers
Most men and women will stand up when meeting a new person or greeting an old friend. So, the moment the person begins to approach, stand up to meet him/her. This small gesture lets your date know you’ve been waiting for them in anticipation. It’s taken as a non-spoken signal that you’ve been looking forward to the meeting.
We shouldn’t let any physical objects stand between us and the person we’re greeting. When rising to meet someone, come out from behind the table, desk, footstool, or anything else. There should never be anything between you and your date except the air. It sends a powerful, though unconscious, message that the new person is trusted, and there is no need to keep a distance from them.
3. Always Smile & Make Eye Contact
It may seem silly to even put this on the list, but it still needs to be addressed. A smile is a pleasant (and powerful) invitation. And believe it or not, most people think they smile more than they actually do. So, when flashing that smile, make it larger than normal—which is probably just about perfect. The reason smiling is so important is it’s an unspoken invitation to join another person. With a bright smile, you’re offering an invitation from clear across the room, even before any words are spoken.
Eye contact is essential because, without it, we’d never know if we have the other person’s attention (and vice versa). Don’t let others wonder, give them the courtesy of looking them in the eyes. By doing this, you’re letting the person know that they have your attention—attention you’re happy to extend.
4. Shake Their Hand
This is the first physical contact and is the most important of the five tips. This is a seal of approval on two people joining with good intentions. Always try to be the first one to extend the hand, as it is a welcome mat and olive branch combined. And to always be prepared to shake hands, keep that hand free of objects (drinks, bags, etc). That way, you won’t waste any of your prescious ten seconds trying to shift things before shaking hands.
5. Be Authentic
When you are authentically yourself, you are in your most relaxed state. You’ll find it a lot easier to be open to the other person. Authenticity enables us to make real connections beginning with eye contact, a smile, hand shaking, and conversation.
As a Final P
First impressions are shaped by what the other person can see and what they hear in those first few seconds; once those moments have come and gone, it may be too late.
What do you think a person can really learn about you in ten seconds? Actually, they’re making the decision, so it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you are the one making the impression. And if you should make a bad one, it may end right there. As an added precaution, it might be a good idea to write a note, an email, or send a text afterwards. Let the person know how much you enjoyed meeting them.
Remember that your stance and posture will be one of the first things the other person will notice. They will reveal a lot about how you feel about yourself, this first meeting, and will reveal details about your personality. By putting on a genuine smile, making eye contact, having a firm handshake, and keeping good posture and stance, the first impression will be a good one.
These are all easy tips and soon enough they will become new habits as you begin to connect with others on a higher level. You’ll become gracious, confident, and difficult to ignore.
About the Author
Dante Munnis is a blogger and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics and success issues. You can find more of Dan’s articles on EssayRepublic and get in touch via Twitter.