You never have a second chance to make a first impression. With that being said, making a good first impression is imperative for both professional and personal relationships. People often pursue those who they connected with, were memorable, or engaged them in conversation. Most networking events and interviews are based on a short interaction so making a good first impression is important to leading towards new opportunities. Let’s dive into a few tips to make sure you are leaving people wowed!
1. Firm Handshake and Good Eye Contact
My parents instilled this in me at a very young age and people have frequently stopped and commented on my firm handshakes. People notice this small detail and since it tees off a conversation it can set the tone for discussion. Looking someone in the eyes while shaking their hand shows a level of confidence and maturity that attracts employers.
A simple, genuine smile makes the you and the person you’re speaking to more relaxed and comfortable. Most people like to be around those that are happy and light up their day. This small thing can change the course of a conversation for the better!
3. Make Connections
Connections are key when meeting new people, especially if you wish to continue a relationship with them. While they are extremely important, don’t force connections i.e “my brother’s girlfriends mom went to high school with you!” Connections don’t have to be mutual friends, they can be common interests or past experiences. If going into a business related initial meeting, it is helpful to do your research on the company or person to maximize your limited time.
4. Stay Engaged
It is essential to stay involved in your conversation both verbally and with nonverbal cues. This means maintaining eye contact, occasionally nodding in affirmation, facing the person, and giving thoughtful responses. It is easy to tell when someone is only partially invested in a conversation and even though the person you’re speaking to may not be the one you want, each person is valuable and you never know who may lead you to new opportunities.
5. Be Memorable
Being memorable is easier said than done. My advice for this is to begin with the end in mind: think about how you want to be remembered and go from there. Do you want to be remembered as professional, personable, creative, or intelligent? Think about people you’ve met that give off those vibes or times when others have complimented you for positive qualities and pull on these to achieve your intent. Overall, it is important to be genuine and stay true to yourself.