INSIDE: Five Tips for Making a Good First Impression

Five Tips for Making a Good First Impression

By Zack Love, VP of Development

You never get a second chance, the saying goes, to make a first impression. It turns out you may not even get that.

Within 50 milliseconds of seeing someone’s face, you unconsciously make decisions that will influence your interactions. These first impressions are made by a variety of factors, but most of these we don’t notice that we are directly contributing towards.

Your appearance, attitude, and body language all play into these first 50 milliseconds, even if you aren’t aware of it.

Some of you will relate to me when I say this: I was the awkward kid in middle school. I was shy, made odd amounts of eye contact, slouched often, never used good tone when I was speaking, and had an awful handshake. Overall, my social skills were terrible. I tell you all of this to better illustrate what a little bit of practice and a few simple tips and tricks can do to a person’s skills – even the ones they don’t notice.

Here are my tips on how to make the best first impression!

  • Never underestimate the value of a good handshake. Remember, the person you’re shaking hands with isn’t fighting you over the last TV at the Black Friday sale – don’t shake their hand like it. On the other end of the spectrum, they aren’t going to break from a little firmness in your grip. Overall, you want to have a firm shake that demonstrates confidence, but a soft enough grip that shows friendliness. Practice really does make perfect with this tip!
  • Always make stellar eye contact. Dropping someone’s gaze while they are speaking to you indicates disinterest. Maintaining good eye contact will ensure your partner that you are paying attention. Often times, it can begin to feel like you are blankly staring at someone after an extended period of eye contact, so try adding in the occasional smile or nod to break up those longer segments.
  • Remember your body language and always look your best! Bad posture can indicate a lack of authority and confidence. Be it in a job interview, a meeting with a business partner, or anything in between, the confidence you display is so important! Even if you aren’t the most famous or sought-after person in the room, sit and stand like you are. You also need to remember that you shouldn’t cross your arms or fidget. You should always want to appear friendly and on top of your game. Also, while it may be cool to wear sweatpants and a t-shirt on the weekends, how you dress is crucial to your first impression. Always be modest and clean in your professional appearance. Strive for simple haircuts, outfits, and styles when going in for that big meeting.
  • Practice your speaking skills often. No one is born a perfect speaker. Everyone gets nervous, and that’s okay! Watch videos online on how to calm your nerves, practice your annunciation and tone, and remember to have fun. Speaking is all about practice.
  • Pay attention to your audience. Finally, remember that so much of a first impression can be controlled by you. If you look closely, you can make your social skill moves based on the moves of the person you are interacting with. Are they crossing their arms? Are they smiling when you smile? What is their tone of voice like? All of these things are important to consider when working with someone else and really leaving a good first impression.

If you follow these simple tips and tricks, I am sure that you will make the best first impression ever!

Zack Love, VP of Development

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