How to leave a great first impression
Thursday, September 03, 2015
Have you ever met someone and couldn't tell whether that person liked you? Or had a conversation at a networking event that left you unsure of whether it was successful? According to a study, it takes 100 milliseconds to sniff out an individual's personality traits. Anything said or displayed afterward either fans the flames or resuscitates the opportunity.
Always remember the basics of any conversation:
- Make eye contact
- Turn off your cellphone
- Keep it positive
- Don't forget your manners
- Remain confident
- Follow up and follow through
First impressions are made quickly, leaving the person with a glimmer into who you are. If you're ready to put your best foot forward, take some advice from Vanessa Van Petten, the CEO of Science of People. She shared the following surefire ways to leave a lasting impression with Forbes:
1. Have a game plan
Make sure to set your intention. For events with new faces like networking events, happy hours or conferences, having a plan can help you arrive prepared. Actively think about the types of interactions you could have and the people you want to mingle with.
Mentally prepare yourself. Not only will this make any surprises seem less shocking, but it will help to hone the energy you give off at the event.
2. Think about your ensemble
The clothes, jewelry, hairstyle, makeup, odor and shoes you're wearing are just a few pieces judged during initial meetings. Preparing your outfit ahead of time is best. Tailor your outfit for the occasion, and it's always great to get a second opinion from a friend.
The pieces you choose to wear are a representation of yourself. A man's watch can make a statement, just as a woman's purse can say a lot about who she is. Make sure your outfit or makeup correspond with what comes out your mouth to the people you are meeting for the first time.
3. Be aware of body language
Folded arms. Eye movement. Use of space. These are all forms of body language that can speak volumes during initial impressions. Often, just being mindful of your body language can cause an instant improvement.
Ask your friends to critique your nonconversational language or record yourself walking into a room. Both of these techniques will help you see what others see when looking at you. Subliminal cues will help you notice little things, like your posture, or the way you shake hands. Check out these everyday body language tips.
4. Avoid bad days
Going to an event after having a bad day is a mistake. Attending a cocktail event or mixers in a terrible mood will just continue the bad day. People will quickly pick up on your facial expressions, conversation and body language.
It's best to stay home and avoid ruining potential or current relationships. Otherwise, find a way to snap out of your bad mood and find mental peace.
5. Be interested and interesting
Holding a conversation when you're genuinely interested in meeting and learning about people is the easiest way to leave an impression. People can instantly tell whether you truly care about what they're saying or are merely trying to pass the time.
Always approach new people with genuine interest in who they are and what they have to say. Make sure to listen to what they're saying, then find a connection. This will create better conversations and lead to lasting relationships or networks. Most importantly, remember to be true to yourself and show your interesting, yet appropriate side, too.
There's no way to control the way others perceive you, but you can affect the outcome if you prepare and present your best self. You can never go wrong by being yourself.
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