It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and you are dressed.
With every new encounter, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed. These first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for the all the relationships that follows. So, whether they are in your career or social life, it’s important to know how to create a good first impression. This article provides some useful tips to help do this. Much of what you need to do to make a good impression is common sense. But with a little extra thought and preparation, you can hone your intuitive style and make every first impression not just good but great.
Making a strong First Impression
Creating a powerful first impression sounds simple. However, the pressure of making a good impression, the very first time is intense. Changing the direction of the spotlight is one of the best ways of creating a positive first impression. No one likes the other person being the centre of attention so. Change the focus from “me” to “you”. Treat the other person as if he/she is the centre of the universe. This means that he/she should feel that he/she is the most important person. The conversation should be “them” centric rather than revolving around “us”. This works well for business relationships. Nobody wants to be with a self centered person. The more you are interested In others, the more eager they will be to meet you again.
There are times when you are aware that first impressions are important but do not know how to make the first impression. The following guidelines can be used to make a strong first impression.
Dress well for the occasion: Dressing right for the occasion is very important to create a good impression. There is a reason why you dress formally in a business environment. When you make no effort to dress up properly, you do not care about his/her opinion. In the business world today, dress standards have become much more relaxed. Fewer people are dressed formally. The emphasis is on wearing smart casuals. This means that emphasis in on “smart” and not on “casuals”. If in doubt while choosing a dress, it is better to be more conservative.
Greet and introduce: Greetings very depending upon the situations. For example in a formal greeting. One can say “Good morning, Ma’am”, “Good morning. Mr. Dhawan” or “Good morning, Mrs. Mehra.” In an informal greeting, one can say “Morning, Rahul”, “Morning, Tara” and in a casual meeting one can say “Hi Reena”, “Hi Philip”, The following guidelines are related to greetings and introductions:
- In the corporate world, use of first names is becoming quite common. Use the company culture as a guide to decide what form of greeting to use.
- Introduction should be made clearly so that the name is clearly audible.
- If you do not get the name initially, responding with “Could you please repeat your name for me?” is quite alright.
- Gentlemen should not introduce themselves as ‘Mr. Singh or Mr. Sharma’. However, women may use ‘Mrs. Singh’ or ‘Miss Sharma’ to introduce themselves, if they want to indicate whether they are married or single.
- Defense personnel who are either serving or retired should be addressed by their rank and surname. For example, “Good morning Colonel Mehta, it has been a pleasure meeting you”.
- When introducing a client to a colleague, the colleague should be introduced to the client. The general rule is that a client is the most important person in the room and therefore, regardless of the seniority of the colleague, they should be introduced to the client.
- It is quite possible that you forget the name of the person as you are making the introduction. Ideally, you should not feel intimidated. Rather than simply ignoring the person, take the situation head on and apologize to the person for forgetting his/her name, it is better to be accused of forgetfulness rather than for being rude.
- While introducing someone who is related to you, you must add, the relationship in the introduction. For example, “Mr. Dua, meet Usha, my nephew.”
- While introducing a new person to a group of people known to you, you must introduce each one by their name, such as meet Amy, Vijay, Payal and everyone meet Radha.
- You must note that ladies are introduced before gentlemen. Similarly, higher ranks should be introduced first and elders should be introduced prior to younger people.
- It can be a good idea to use informative introductions than plain names, such as meet Mr. Piyush jham our Marketing Manager for North India.
- It is recommended pronouncing names correctly and if you got the name right, its best to clarify, it is considered appropriate to introduce yourself if there is no one to introduce you. It is a sign of openness and confidence, if the other person asks you your name again, do not get offended, instead consider that the other person is honest enough to come and ask.
Introduce yourself effectively: Self-introduction plays an important role for a strong first impression for example, if you see a potential customer at a conference or at a seminar, you should be able to walk up to them and introduce yourself. You should start by saying “Excuse me! You do not know me, but my name is jack and I saw your article about economics in the paper popular Times” and carry on a conversation from there. If the person is in conversation with some other people, you can stand nearby, wait for a pause in the flow of conversation and then begin to talk.
Be on Time
The person you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late. Plan to arrive a few minutes early. And allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn. Arriving early is much better that arriving late, hands down, and is the first in creating a great first impression.
Be Yourself, Be at Ease
If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, this can make the other person ill at ease and that’s a sure way to create to wrong impression. If you are calm and confident, so the other person will feel more at ease, and so have a solid foundation for making that first impression a good one.
Present Yourself Appropriately
Of course physical appearance matters. The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you and your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on. But it certainly does not mean you need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression (Unless you are interviewing with your local model agency, of course!) No. The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so the “picture” you first present says much about you to the person you are meeting. Is your appearance saying the right things to help create the right first impression?Start with the way you dress. What is the appropriate dress for the meeting or occasion? In a business setting. What is the appropriate business attire? Suit, blazer, casual? And ask yourself what the person you’ll be meeting is likely to wear- if your contact is in advertising or the music industry, a pinstripe business suit may not strike the right note! For business and social meetings, appropriate dress also varies between countries and cultures, so it’s something that you should pay particular attention to when in an unfamiliar setting or country. Make sure you know the traditions and norms. And what about your personal grooming? Clean and tidy appearance is appropriate for most business and social occasions. A good haircut or shave. Clean and tidy clothes. Neat and tidy make up. Make sure your grooming is appropriate and helps make you feel “ the part” Appropriate dressing and grooming help make a good first impression and also help you feel “ the part”, and so feel more calm and confident, add all of this up and you are well on your way to creating a good first impression.
A word about Individuality
The good news is you can usually create a good impression without total conformity or losing your individuality. Yes, to make a good first impression you do need to “fit in” to some degree. But it all goes back to being appropriate for the situation. If in aa business setting, wear appropriate business attire. It at a formal evening social event, wear appropriate evening attire. And express your individuality appropriately within that context.
A Winning smile!
“smile and the world smiles too. “so there’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease. So smiling is a winner when it comes to great first impressions. But don’t go overboard with this-people who take this too far can seem insincere and smarmy, or can be seen to be “lightweights”.
Be open and Confident
When it comes to making the first impression, body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words.Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance. Stand tall, smile (of course), make eye contact, great with a firm handshake. All of this well help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person feel better at ease. Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time, which can lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms. By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try them in check. And controlling a nervous jitter or a nervous laugh will give you confidence and help the other person feel at ease.
Small Talk Goes A Long Way…
Conversations are based on verbal give and take, it may help you to prepare questions you have for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. Or, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the with a local charitable foundation? Is there anything that you know of that you have in common with the person you are meeting? If so, this can be a great way to open the conversation and to keep it flowing.
Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the face of criticism or in the case of nervousness. Strive to learn from your meeting and to contribute appropriately, maintaining as upbeat manner and a smile.
Be Courteous and Attentive
It goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behaviour help make a good first impression, in fact, anything less can ruin the one chance you have at making that impression. So be on your best behavior!One modern manner worth mentioning is “turn off your mobile phone”, what first impression will you create if you are already speaking to someone other than the person you are meeting for the first time? Your new acquaintance deserves 100% of your attention. Anything less and you’ll create a less than good first impression.
In a business environment, it is sometimes simpler to describe your role in the organisation rather than who you are. It helps people concept immediately and they do not need to stress on a reason to0 speak to you, you provide it to them. Public events such as seminars and conferences are meant to provide networking opportunities. People attend such seminar and conferences because they themselves want to meet more people. Your taking the initiative is not rude and if you choose to be shy and detached, you may end up as a loser.
Offer a firm handshake: The handshake is a university recognized way of acknowledging an introduction. A good handshake requires a firm grip of the other person’s hand. A firm handshake is the sign of character and a limp handshake signifies the lack of it. However, in our culture people may hesitate to shake hands firmly with the fear that it may appear to be aggressive. Suffice it to say that a firm handshake is never out of place.
It is also common to come across the idea that when meeting a women. It is acceptable to wait for her to extend her hand so that, she lets you know that it is all right to make contact. in India, often the women may avoid the handshake. However, a ‘Namaste’ or an equivalent greeting is just as good. In the workplace, where women are working alongside men, it is unlikely that a woman will take offence if a man extends his hand to her first.
Call by name: You should use a person’s name while conversing with him/her in a conversation. Personalizing an interaction by using a name repeatedly serves two purposes. It makes other person feel important and makes it easier to fix the name in one’s mind and remember if for the next time.
Listen attentively: Conversation needs help to keep it going. You can use the phrases such as “What happened after that?”, “And then?” or “That’s really interesting” to continue the conversation. These phrases encourage the speaker to keep going and signify that you are listening to him/her.
Sometimes, silence is best for carrying on the conversation. Giving strong non-verbal cues also shows that you are a good listener.
When talking to someone, ensure that you should be genuinely attentive. You may think that you are being very subtle but, the other person can always judge that.
Understand the other person’s point of view: It takes two people to have an argument and you do not need to be one of them. Having a disagreement with someone you have met for the first time almost makes it impossible to build any kind of rapport with that person. During the first interaction, you must focus on the other person and not on what is right or wrong according to you. If your objective of interaction is building a relationship, focus on that. If you hear something that is contrary to your belief and values, you should either keep quiet or simply clarify that you feel differently about the subject. It is certainly too early for you to correct other person based on your opinion. You should focus on the objective and let others present their point of view first. You can wait to establish some level of trust and familiarity before contradicting the other person’s statement. For example, you are interacting with a person for the first time and he has his views on school education system in India. If he decides to express them and you do not agree with them as you have a lot of information about school education, you should allow him to present his views. After he finishes his view points, you can comment regarding the topic and politely give the reasons for contradiction.