First impressions last. This is a saying that will forever ring true. If you think you have the entirety of your first meeting to make an impression, think again. Science already said it: it only takes seven seconds for someone you met for the first time to form an impression about your personality.
So, whether you’re meeting people for a job interview, business meeting, conference, or other professional event or setting, you must act quickly if you want to leave a positive first impression. You should consider every chance you get as the first and last. Do not dwell on the idea that even if your first meeting wasn’t as great as you would like, you’d still get another shot. Because if you think about it, who would want to meet you again if you left a bad impression?
Fortunately, there are five tested and proven ways to make a great first impression. Here they are.
1. Arrive on time
Arriving at your appointment on time is a great indicator of one’s character and behavior. Being late, even if you didn’t mean to, makes people think that you do not care enough about the meeting. It makes the other person feel that they are not worth your effort and you don’t respect their time. Arriving early is always better than arriving late, even if it would mean waiting.
2. Smile like you mean it
When you first meet someone, always give them your warmest smile. A genuine and confident smile encourages positive interaction. When people smile, it becomes easier to be at ease with each other. Don’t go overboard, though. There are parts of the conversation when smiling too much could be inappropriate, making your smile appear insincere.
3. Exude confidence through body language
When making a first impression, actions often speak louder than words. Your body language can make or break the first impression you make. When you’re nervous, it will definitely show in the way move, stand, swing your arms, or wave your hands. Feeling nervous may also keep you from making any movement at all as you try to hide your anxiety.
Relax. Do you really want the job? Do you want to close that deal? If you know you’ve got a lot to bring to the table, there’s no need to be nervous! Think of the person you’re meeting as someone who is also a bit anxious about meeting you for the first time. If you show you’re nervous, they might think that you’re confident enough about what you can do and offer.
4. Dress to impress
The way you dress speaks volumes about your regard for class and professionalism. Dressing appropriately can also demonstrate how detail-oriented you are.
Furthermore, you need to dress for the part. You should try your best not to be underdressed nor overdressed. If you wear casual attire to a corporate meeting, it will show that you don’t care about what the people you’ll meet will think about you. Meanwhile, when you dress up or accessorize too much, the other person might end up distracted.
5. Be cautious of the way you talk
Every second counts when you’re trying to make an impression. Don’t mess it up by mumbling. However, you shouldn’t also speak too loud. Speak in a calm, friendly tone. Avoid using filler words such as “um”. Even though you may have some regional accent or language quirks, try your best to talk as naturally as possible.