If you want to make a great first impression, there are some ways you can practice or prepare to wow people when you first meet them.
Meeting people for the first time can feel nerve-wracking, but you can absolutely become a master at small talk and making people feel comfortable when they first meet you. Most people are worried about making a good first impression, so remind yourself that the other person wants you to like them as well!
These are our ten best tips for making a great impression – they work for first dates, interviews, dinner parties, etc.
Why It’s Important to Make a Good First Impression
First impressions tend to stick (in fact, we form first impressions within 2 to 30 seconds!). Positive experiences can be an important beginning for new relationships. You can recover from a poor first impression, but let’s avoid that and just start off great!
1. Be positive.
It might feel hard, but fake it till you make it. Enter with positivity. You’ll feel better and you’ll put others at ease if you start with positivity. Want to be a more positive person in general? Check out our tips on positivity.
2. Make eye contact.
Eye contact is important. Looking away or down can seem like you are uncomfortable or have something to hide. Look people in the eyes when you first meet them.
3. Have some talking points in mind.
If you’re meeting someone for a date, you don’t have to stalk them, but find out what they’re interested in in advance so you can think of a few things to talk about.
If you’re going for an interview, you should do so much research it feels like stalking! You need to know everything you can about the company and your potential boss. Definitely practice what you want to talk about in advance.
4. Smile if you feel it’s appropriate.
Smiling in every situation can feel disingenuous, but when you smile it helps your brain feel like it’s happy. Smiling helps us feel more at ease as well as others.
5. Be considerate.
Be considerate of the person you are meeting. This goes for everything from choosing the location to showing up on time.
6. Pay attention to your body language.
Folding your arms can feel like you’re shutting off. Try keep your arms at your sides or at least open and lean towards the other person while they’re talking.
Mimicking (or mirroring) another person’s body language can help them relate to your more – but don’t overdo it!
7. Find common ground.
When you start speaking with the other person try to find common interests or discussion topics. It helps people bond when they find shared interests.
8. Ask good questions.
People like to talk about themselves. Ask interesting questions and really listen to what they’re saying, so you can ask great follow up questions. Get people to share who they really are by asking them attentive questions.
9. Listen closely.
We’ve all been in a situation where we can tell the other person is just waiting to start speaking. When you listen closely it can help you build relationships (as well as your career).
10. Be yourself.
You can fake confidence to give you an extra boost, but don’t fake who you are. People should like you for you. Let that shine through!
How to Make a Great First Impression Over the Phone
When we speak to people over the phone, we lose the ability to see their face and body language. It’s still possible to build a relationship over the phone and make a great first impression.
It’s incredibly important to listen closely when you’re talking on the phone. It’s easy to miss cues when we don’t have a visual reference.
Speak slowly and clearly. Ask great questions. Listen well.
How the Make a Good Impression on Zoom
Zoom and videoconferencing are a slightly better way to build rapport than a phone call, but it’s still hard to make a killer first impression.
Mirroring body language can work well on Zoom. Make sure to pause so you aren’t interrupting people.
Videocalls sometimes have a good deal of lag, so it’s easy to talk over people. Allow for a bit of space between speaking and shorten your sentences/thoughts to make it easier for the other person to respond.
Making a great first impression is very important. With a bit of practice and some planning, you can make awesome first impressions on job interviews, dates, and at social gatherings.
Remember to approach people with openness, positivity, and focus on them whenever possible.