In business and in life we are constantly meeting new people. For every new face you meet wouldn’t it be nice for them to immediately value and respect you? In other words don’t you want to always make a great first impression?
In order to make a great first impression it really boils down to trust. Building that trust takes time. And unfortunately it’s a lot easier to lose than to gain. That said it’s extremely important how you kick things off with someone you’re meeting for the first time.
Here are four ways you can make a great first impression with anyone you meet.
1. Be Yourself
This is the most important tip I can give in regards first impressions. If you’re meeting someone for the first time you truly need to be yourself. You need to be authentic.
It’s common for people to brag about their accomplishments and hide their flaws in an attempt to impress whomever they’re talking to. More often than not this strategy actually backfires. If you are truly great, they will figure it out without you telling them. Try to lean into your weaknesses and show that you are self aware. If you can address your flaws early you’ll be able to move onto your achievements on the right foot.
2. Do Your Research
If you’re at a networking event or at a conference this may not apply to you. However if you’re going to meet someone for the first time at a planned meeting you need to do your research. Fortunately for us, we have social networks like LinkedIn that can give us a huge advantage prior to meetings.
Take a look at their past jobs, colleagues, interests, alma matter, or anything you can draw connections to. While some people may consider this “stalking” in business we consider it being prepared.
3. Dress for Success
This ties into number one. When meeting someone for the first time it’s easy to get caught up on what you’re going to wear. This often results in dressing up in a button down, slacks, and some dress shoes for the meeting. If that’s your normal attire then great. However if you aren’t the type to dress like that then don’t!
If you like to wear a t-shirt and sandals to work everyday then go ahead and wear it. Remember, you want to be authentic so don’t try to dress like or be someone you aren’t.
4. Be Aware of Body Language
You’d be surprised how many social cues are picked up from body language. In addition you’d be surprised how many people leave a conversation caught up on how sloppy their initial handshake was. In hindsight it’s not a big deal. However, when having an initial conversation you should be aware and use good body language.
First and foremost you should have an open posture. Try not to cross your arms or legs to tight and stay loose. When you talk feel free to use lots of hand gestures and take up some space. If you’re animated when you speak then others will be more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
On the contrary there are definitely some behaviors and bad habits you should avoid. Tapping your feet or hands give the impression that you’re anxious or nervous. If you constantly dodge eye contact it can give the impression that you’re being dishonest. All in all you should stay cool calm and collected and be yourself.
First impressions are something that everyone should look to master. If you can make solid connections with everyone you meet just think about how powerful your network will be. That said, use the four tips above so you can make great first impressions with anyone you meet.