How to Make the Best First Impression
Whether meeting a potential client or attending an interview, there are many situations in which we find ourselves face to face with new people. The unexpected nature of a foreign situation can make even the most confident person apprehensive. Neither party will know what to expect and will likely hope to be at their best to ensure smooth-sailing and a successful encounter. Although sources do not agree on one figure, it takes an estimated time of 2.6 seconds to one minute when meeting a person for the first time for us to make up our mind about them. Essentially, you have less than 60 seconds to charm your acquaintance and seal your fate. So how can you ensure you strike the right chord with new acquaintances? Although you cannot preempt every detail of the interaction, there are a few things you should keep in mind in order to be prepared.
Dress the part
How you dress is one of the first things someone will notice. Knowing who you are meeting, and where, are key details to selecting the right outfit. Business attire won't always be appropriate if you are meeting in a casual environment, but if you are meeting with the CEO of a financial institution you can assume that a suit and tie is a must regardless. Simple accessories, such as a watch or polished pair of shoes, add character to your look and show the person that you put some thought into what you are wearing. It is always a good idea to plan your outfit the night before. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from your friends to make sure that you nail it.
Body language is extremely important when making a first impression. Sitting up straight shows the other person that you are confident, however, make sure to not come across as stiff. You want to provide a relaxed composure in order to put your companion at ease. Angling your body in the direction of the speaker will also help convey to them that you are paying attention. If you wish to appear open to feedback or present positively for a future role, avoid crossing your arms.
It’s all in the eyes
As they say, your eyes are the window to your soul. When you meet someone for the first time, make sure to look at them during the introduction. Eye contact shows engagement and insinuates you find the conversation interesting. Adding in a nod or two, and a smile will also help the speaker feel more at ease. This simple body language shows the person that you are not only paying attention to them but taking the time to understand what they are saying.
Flash your pearly whites
It is essential upon meeting that you greet the person with a grin. A warm smile will usually always be reciprocated and therefore start the meeting on a positive note. A genuine smile will also help ease any “first meeting nerves” and ensure a more relaxed and comfortable environment.
Use your ears
Make sure that you are actively listening to what the person is saying - the more you listen, the more you will get to know about the speaker, who they are and what they are passionate about. Not only will this let you draw similarities with your own personal taste, it will also help the conversation flow and ensure you come across as authentic.