How can you not only make a great first impression, but a lasting one?

Many of us are nervous when we first meet people, but it is these nerves that actually prevent us from coming across the way we want to.

This can be even more difficult when we’re at networking events, meeting so many people for the first time, that it seems an even more difficult task to be remembered.

However, if you can push past the nerves and remember the following tips, you can make sure you make an excellent first impression.

How to Make an Excellent First Impression

1) Don’t Speak First

When you initially meet someone, try to resist the urge of blurting out your name first. Instead approach with a smile, arm extended for a handshake, and let the other person introduce them first. This does a number of things. It lets the person you’re meeting feel more in control and shows that you’re willing to listen.

It’s also a great mark of respect and actually refreshing at corporate events where everyone is fighting to be heard first.

2) Be Positive

It’s important when making a great first impression that you not only present yourself as being confident, but positive as well. Keep a smile on your face, don’t be afraid to make the odd (tasteful) joke or two, and make sure everything you’re speaking about is done on a positive tone.

You might hear people speak about collapsing economies, businesses closing down or other negative topics However, avoid the temptation to join in. Instead, if you are unwittingly dragged into a conversation like this, try to make a positive point.

People like feeling positive and if you’re seen to be the person that lifts the mood, you’ll be remembered far more easily than all the others that jumped into a negative topic. We can also associate negativity with gossip so taking careful control of what you’re saying also makes you seem more trustworthy, and a person people would like to do business with.

3) Perfect Small Talk

People dread small talk almost as much as an initial introduction, if not more! However there are some simple tips that make small talk a lot easier. Especially if you put the focus on the other person, it takes less pressure off yourself.

Do your homework

If you’re going to a meeting then you’ve plenty of time to do some research about who you’re meeting, their company and the projects they have going on at the moment. Pay particular attention to any instances of them being mentioned in the news and use all of this as topic starters. If you’re going to a networking event, know the people you would like to meet and carry out the same research on them.

Use people’s names

Using a person’s name in conversation is a great little psychological hack. It makes the person feel acknowledged, shows you’re interested in them and most importantly – makes sure you don’t forget it!

Don’t answer shortly

If someone asks you a question, don’t hold back, make sure you’re answering the question fully and use it to lead to a question you can then ask in return.

Draw other people out

Other people like to talk, as long as the feel like they’re being listened too. Show great interest in what the other person is saying and ask them questions that will allow them to delve deeper.

Validate others opinions

Agree with the other person frequently and also drop little lines into the conversation like “That was a great idea” Or “Wow, that’s really imaginative”. Being appreciative and letting the other person know it, validates their actions and makes them feel a lot happier.

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