The Power of First Impressions – How to impress anyone you meet in under 30 seconds
By Jon Michail
Being the smartest, or most able-bodied person is not the be all and end all of success, financial or otherwise. Being likeable and considering other people and their tendencies or desires is just as crucial in becoming successful for the long term.
People react better to you, and are thus more open to what you have to say, when your personality is favourable in a social situation. You’ll never have the opportunity to flaunt the attributes you feel you have if people aren’t happy dealing with you.
The first 30 seconds of social encounters are more important than people think, and here are 15 time – proven ways to maximise this time and impress anyone:
- Suppress the butterflies
How you feel may impact significantly how you look and how you come across. Suffocate the feelings of anxiety before they have the chance to grow, and remember: it’s only a big deal because you tell yourself it is.
Having good manners is something you’d probably remember being drummed into you as a child. It’s important to realise how you carry yourself and the way you act impacts how you’re perceived. Hold politeness and kind etiquette to the utmost esteem — it’ll make people see you in a more positive light.
Too often is this overlooked, especially by the male persuasion. Looking clean and well kept carries the notion that you care. If you aren’t even willing to at least tidy up your hair, and rid yourself of the fresh out of bed look, then people will generally perceive you as being too lazy to make an effort, which may carry over into your work life.
- Respect boundaries
Have awareness of the other person’s responses, attitude, and feelings — engage in a handshake if it’s appropriate, if some other greeting is typical of their cultural background, then don’t push it to happen and wait for them to make the move. Be mindful of others; not all people are to be dealt with the same, as it may be disrespectful to initiate certain actions based on some peoples social norms and customs.
- What is expected of you?
Be the person you’ve painted yourself to be, and don’t feel pushed to live outside of what this image has portrayed. People will be used to whatever you have led yourself to be — be conscious of this.
- Body language
Be engaging, whilst also relaxed, and avoid coming across as too strong. Furthermore, being too relaxed may come across as if you are uninterested. Keep a sensible median.
- Stay positive
Keep a consistent positive attitude. This doesn’t mean you have to be the comedic life of the party, but it does mean being negative will only hurt the outcome.
Your attitude cannot influence your demeanour. There is a time and place to let your emotions get the better of you, but it’s best to keep them under control in a social situation. Remain calm and level-headed at all times.
People don’t enjoy someone who is arrogant or aggressive — refrain from showing either of these negative tendencies as it’s only detrimental to how someone takes you.
- Clear messages
Ensure your words and your body language convey the same message. Showing negative body language, yet having calm words, is confusing, and will come across as the former regardless of the tone of your voice or the merit in your words.
- Descriptive language
Use descriptive language when engaging with someone, and wherever possible ensure their demeanour is being matched with emotive and enjoyable language.
- Be curious and interested
Genuine interest is never overlooked, and in fact makes for a more pleasant experience for you and the party involved. Match this with a subtle sense of curiousness, and care about what the other person is saying.
- Dress smart
Choose clothing appropriate for every social encounter, but as a rule of thumb: dressing smart sends the valuable message that you care about yourself and you have standards you follow, and thus are seen as more likely only to add to the conversation than you would otherwise.
- Have a personal statement
Memorise a personal statement that adequately sums up who you are and why you do what you do. Keep it simple, yet interesting — the objective here is to draw people in, and create a sense of intrigue.
- Every meeting is important
Act as if every encounter is a first impression, and as valuable as such. Make every meeting count.
Jon Michail is Group CEO of Image Group International, Australasia’s No 1 image coach. Image Group International supports executives, entrepreneurs and their organisations to become iconic and monetised leadership brands.