Impressions are extremely important, especially in the workplace, but how exactly do you make sure you make a good impression on someone? Here are 12 simple ways to make sure you make a good impression the first time.
Your facial expression is the first thing someone sees when they meet you. A kind and welcoming expression is the first step to making a good impression. Whether you’re meeting a potential client or participating in a formal interview, you want to appear approachable and friendly to the other person. A smile is a very simple way to start off on the right foot, and it’s likely to make you feel better and more comfortable as well. When you do smile, make sure it’s your genuine smile and it’s not only for show. A cheesy, fake grin will certainly be memorable, but not as a positive impression.
2. Start With a Strong Introduction
After your smile, the next thing they’ll notice is the way you introduce yourself. Eye contact and a strong handshake are a great way to show you’re interested in meeting this person. Be sure to state your name clearly, and when they state their name, repeat it back to them to make sure you have it right. Repeating their name is also a trick to help you remember it! A simple phrase such as “it’s a pleasure to meet you,” not only shows your manners, but it makes the person you’re meeting feel like you’re genuinely happy to talk with them.
3. Dress Your Best
The way you present yourself is a pretty big factor in someone’s first impression of you. Being appropriately dressed for the situation can work positively in your favor if you dress to impress. There may not be one right way to dress in every situation, but think about the environment you’ll be in and what type of situation it is. The context of your meeting is very important in helping you figure out how to present yourself. If it’s a business meeting you’ll be attending, casual dress is most likely not appropriate. When you’re unsure how to present yourself, remember it’s usually better to be overdressed than to be underdressed.
4. Be Punctual
Punctuality matters in all situations, even if it has nothing to do with business. When you show up on time, it not only shows that you’re responsible, you’re proving that you believe the other person’s time is valuable. Of course, there are always unpredictable situations that may prevent you from being on time, but planning ahead and giving yourself more than enough time can make all the difference when you’re expected somewhere.
5. Be Attentive
In our modern world, getting someone’s full attention doesn’t happen very often. It’s important to be attentive and courteous, especially when meeting someone for the first time. Being an active listener and using your manners goes a long way. Put all distractions away, such as cell phones and other devices. Paying attention to something other than the person in front of you will make them feel as if you don’t value them or the conversation you’re having.
6. Have a Positive Attitude
If you’ve ever met an extremely negative person, you know that it’s pretty easy to sense their negativity right away. No matter what may have happened before your meeting, starting off with a positive attitude and maintaining that attitude throughout the interaction says a lot about your character. Even if you’re having a bad day, you can control your attitude. By smiling, making eye contact, and controlling your posture and body language, you’re presenting yourself as a warm and welcoming person. The person you’re connecting with is more likely to think of you in a positive light if your positive attitude was evident through your words and expressions.
7. Come Prepared
When you’re in a situation where you know who you’re meeting with ahead of time, being prepared can help you make a great first impression. Think about some potential talking points that you know might interest this person in case the conversation lags. If you have an idea of what interests them, you can find common ground and make a connection with this person right away. Being prepared also means you should make sure you have all the necessary materials with you, especially if it’s an interview or formal business meeting. You don’t want to be caught without your resume or a notepad to take notes if you end up needing it. Prepare some questions ahead of time that you know you’ll want to ask as well and you’ll be sure to impress anyone who meets you.
8. Watch Your Body Language
Body language can be either a positive or negative thing depending on how you use it. Especially if you’re nervous, you may use some body language in your meeting that expresses your uneasiness or comes across to the person like you’re disinterested. Even if you do feel nervous, try to use body language that shows you’re relaxed but confident. Pay attention to the body language of the other person and adjust your body language when necessary.
9. Find Common Ground
You’re more likely to connect with someone if you feel you can relate to them, so finding common ground when making an impression is imperative. It doesn’t have to be something big because even a small detail in common can ensure that your meeting was memorable. If you can’t think of something you may have in common right away, start by commenting on your surroundings. Even small talk about the meeting place or the weather can lead to a more interesting conversation. Once you get the conversation going, be attentive and you’re bound to find something you have in common. Finding common ground doesn’t mean you have to agree with or mimic something they say, but even having a little knowledge about something they’re interested in can show that you’re the kind of person they can relate to.
10. Direct the Conversation Away from Yourself
If you like to talk about yourself at all, remember that the person you’re talking to most likely wants to talk about themselves as well. It’s important to mention your strengths and help the person connect and get to know you by offering some details, but don’t talk about yourself too long. Asking great questions and allowing the other person to talk about themselves first will show that you’re an attentive listener and that you’re interested in getting to know them.
11. Follow Up
The impression you make doesn’t have to end once the conversation does. Following up with someone after a meeting can help solidify the impression you made, especially if it was a positive one. If it was an informal meeting, being able to get in touch with someone not only shows your resourcefulness, but it also shows that you care enough to reach out to them. Thanking the person for their time when you follow up is a great way to show genuine appreciation.
12. Be Yourself
When it comes to making impressions, it’s important to be your authentic self and show your true personality. If you’re trying too hard or attempting to be someone else, the other person will be able to tell. Being yourself doesn’t mean you have to be candidly honest and open and share every personal detail about yourself, but trying to act like someone you’re not shows the other person that you’re not trustworthy. If you’re finding it difficult to be yourself because of your nerves, sometimes admitting you’re nervous can show you’re being genuine, and it might make the other person feel more comfortable also.
No matter the situation, impressions can be a big deal and they’re hard to fix when they start off the wrong way. There are many ways to make a good impression, but these 12 tips will help you make a memorable and lasting impression on anyone you meet.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.