Whether you’re at a job interview, on your first day at a new position, or meeting a coworker for the first time—it never hurts to make a good first impression. It’s said that first impressions stick with people the longest and you can maintain a good reputation with those around you when you plan to impress from the very beginning. But what’s the best way to do this?
Five ways to make a positive and memorable first impression
You can do this by using the unique qualities that make you, YOU. Try all of the following:
- Focus on connections. This makes it easier to have a great conversation, and that’s what someone will remember. Look for common ground such as sports, local events and attractions, movies, TV shows or music.
- Be confident and honest. Even if you don’t feel confident, you can do your best by just letting yourself breathe easy, and minimizing awkward movements—don’t fidget, but allow yourself to talk with your hands, and maintain good posture. Be positive, but don’t be fake—honesty, and an open and frank discussion, will make a better impression than disguising your thoughts and feelings.
- People feel more comfortable talking to others who are happy and kind. Let a natural smile light up your face and allow yourself to smile at regular intervals during the conversation. If your smile feels forced, try to think of something that makes you laugh, or keep the conversation light-hearted and even humorous.
- Place emphasis on the other person. If you’ve ever read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, you know the number one thing people enjoy talking about is themselves. When meeting a person for the first time, indulge them a little and try to genuinely identify with them. You can do this by asking the person questions about themselves and their interests, and keep the conversation on those topics.
- Be yourself. This is the easiest way to be. Don’t try to force a different persona, or an impression you think the other person is looking for.
It gets easier
Networking is a learned skill. The more you put yourself in situations where you need to have first-time conversations with people, the easier it will become. Try it and see!
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