Do you remember the saying, “First impression matters”?
What do you think about someone when you meet them for the first time? What is your opinion of them? How do you see them?
This is the same way people assess you when they meet you for the first time. How do people see you? Friendly, wise, snobbish, cool? It is the first impression you give off that matters.
People tend to know you based on the first impression of you they see or encounter till they get to know you on a personal level. Unfortunately, we don’t establish close connections with everyone we meet, which is why these first impressions tend to linger in people’s minds throughout their lifetimes.
People don’t often bother with the first impressions they give off. They are unconcerned about the opinions of others to the extent that they are indifferent to their demeanour, speech, and interactions with people.
While it is good to not let society define how you should act or think, it does not mean you should give bad impressions and characters to someone or people you are just meeting for the first time. That’s just improper.
First impressions help retain friends and people who share the same interests. This doesn’t mean one has to pretend to be good, rather it helps one become better at interacting with others and developing a good character.
In social relationships and professional settings, a good first impression is of great importance. A good first impression can take you far. People have shared testimonies of how, by radiating a good character and energy during their first encounters, they’ve gained favour and access to higher opportunities and positions.
Here are some ways by which you can get a good first impression:
1. Dress Appropriately
The first thing anyone would look at when approached is the dress of the person approaching. To make a positive first impression, dress in a manner that is suitable for the context and occasion. Dress how you would like to be addressed and seen. Your clothing should be clean, well-fitting, modest and in line with the expectations of the environment you’re entering.
2. Maintain Good Hygiene
Personal hygiene is crucial and of paramount importance. Ensure that you’re clean, well-groomed, and your breath is fresh. Pay attention to details like clean nails and a tidy appearance. Use good colognes and deodorants, wear fresh clothes, do not keep bushy hair (even if it is full, make sure it’s not unkempt), cut your beards appropriately, shave or do not wear clothes that show the pubic hair, and so on. With personal hygiene, little details matter.
3. Smile and Make Eye Contact
A warm smile and maintaining eye contact can boost confidence and enhance approachability. It shows that you are interested and engaged in the interaction. It makes others feel welcome. You may be shy but endeavour to smile.
4. Offer a Firm Handshake
A handshake is often a standard greeting in professional and many social settings, regardless of gender. Be sure to make it firm but not overly aggressive. A weak handshake can convey a lack of confidence, while a crushing grip can be off-putting.
5. Use Proper Body Language
Your body language communicates a lot about you. Stand or sit up straight, avoid slouching, and make use of open and welcoming gestures. Avoid crossing your arms, as it can be seen as defensive or unfriendly. Do not also lean into the touches of people or become clingy. While some may not appreciate the proximity, they can also be seen as flirtatious gestures.
6. Be Attentive and Listen Actively
When you engage in conversation, show that you are actively listening by nodding, making appropriate verbal cues (“I see,” “I understand”), and asking follow-up questions. This shows that you value the other person’s input.
7. Exude Confidence, Not Arrogance
Confidence is attractive, but arrogance can be displeasing. Speak with certainty but be open to others’ opinions and ideas. Avoid monopolising the conversation.
8. Show Positivity and Enthusiasm
A positive attitude is infectious and can create a welcoming atmosphere. Be enthusiastic about the topic of conversation and try to find common interests or shared passions.
9. Show Politeness and Respect
Basic manners go a long way. Say “please” and “thank you,” show respect for others’ opinions, and avoid interrupting or talking over people. Be calm when speaking, do not hurl insults because people do not agree with you or know the topic of conversation. Always give honour and respect to whom and when it is due.
10. Know Your Audience
This is one key thing to know. Tailor your approach to the specific context and individuals you’re meeting. Be aware of cultural norms and the expectations of the situation. You can only know how to contribute to a conversation when you know the kind of people you are addressing.
11. Prepare and Be Knowledgeable
If you’re attending a professional meeting or interview, research the company or organisation, and have a good understanding of the role or opportunity. This demonstrates your genuine interest and preparation. Unpreparedness isn’t a good style for a first impression.
12. Show Empathy
Try to understand the other person’s perspective and emotions. Offer support or encouragement when appropriate. By empathising with their point of view, you create a stronger bond and foster better communication. Moreover, when the situation calls for it, don’t hesitate to provide the necessary support or offer words of encouragement. Demonstrating empathy and being a source of support is a good thing.
13. Follow Up
After your initial meeting, send a “thank-you” note or message to express your appreciation and reiterate your interest in continuing the relationship or collaboration.
Since first impressions are formed quickly, often within seconds, it is important to be mindful of your behaviour and presentation from the moment you meet someone. You don’t need to be jovial or overtly sociable to give off a good first impression. There are extreme introverts who have given off very good impressions and have made the most beautiful friends and work colleagues.
The most important thing one can do is to respond to people politely, develop good conversational skills, and offer valuable contributions and suggestions without being rude and pompous. These aforementioned points guarantee how to give a good first impression.
Researched by Aduloju Oluwatoyosi Afolabi