Have you ever wished you could get a first impression “do-over”? Well, unfortunately, you can’t. As Will Rogers said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. There are numerous published studies stating how quickly we make judgments. Regardless of the number of seconds, the bottom line is, it’s fast! So fast, in fact, that we have no control over it. Because we can’t control it, the most important thing to do when meeting someone for the first time is to have a plan and set goals to ensure you make the best first impression.
Do your research and learn what you can about the person. What do you want to gain from the meeting or interview? What might they want to learn from you? What do you want to discuss? It’s a good idea to prepare talking points. Although you don’t want to force a conversation or come across as being scripted, having talking points will help you get the most out of the conversation. Life is full of opportunities to make an impressive first impression. Below are six simple ways you can make not only a great first impression but also a lasting one!
Don’t blow it before you even show up. The surest way to sabotage your first impression is by being disrespectful and not being on time. Get a good night’s rest, set your alarm and show up earlier than scheduled. And remember to TURN OFF YOUR PHONE during the meeting.
Be aware of your body language; it can speak louder than words. Look people in the eye directly, sit up straight, and don’t turn your back to people. Everything your Mom told you to do when you were growing up! And perhaps most importantly, smile. Yes, it sounds so simple but you’d be surprised how quickly we can forget to smile when we are nervous about impressing others.
What should you wear? Think about what will be appropriate dress for the occasion. Nothing can make you feel more out of place than being over or under-dressed. It’s tough to feel good about yourself and be comfortable in a pressure situation if you are worried about how you look. Again, do your research about the company and the culture. Find pictures online and reviews of what current and former employees have to say, you’ll be surprised by all the helpful information you’ll receive.
Most often the easiest way to make a good impression is by being yourself, which is when you are most at ease. Your interaction will be much smoother if you are being genuine and coming across as someone who is comfortable in their own skin.
Be sure to speak clearly and with an even tone. It’s great to discuss shared interests and experiences but make sure not to center the conversation around yourself. Make the conversation about the other person’s interests. Listen and be attentive, be an active listener. Use a few of the other person’s words when responding or contributing to the conversation. This shows you’re listening and paying attention, which is what employers look for in a candidate.
Remember names and use them when speaking. The reason many people don’t remember names is because they’re not focusing and they don’t make it a point to remember. Make one of your goals to remember everyone’s name. Address everyone by their name as soon as you hear it and you will remember it. Demonstrating that you remember someone’s name shows respect and that you care to get to know them.
These are all simple ways you can plan for and to put into action when you are meeting anyone in any situation, whether it be in a professional or personal setting, for the first time. Keep these tips in mind for your next meeting or interview and you will not need a second chance to make a great first impression!
Do you want to learn about other ways to be successful in an interview? Subscribe to our JOHNLEONARD blog below and receive helpful information directly from our consultants!