Experts say, it takes less than two seconds to make a lasting impression upon someone. When meeting someone for the first time, it’s important to give your best from the very beginning. Leaving the wrong impression on someone could block you from opportunities, invitations to future social events, and they could take a lifetime to rectify.
Here are 8 essential steps that are sure to help you ‘wow’ someone from the start!
1. Appearance is Everything.
Before you even say your name, an opinion of you is already being formed. Your personality shines through the clothes you wear, how you carry yourself, and the way you are groomed. You are a walking billboard for yourself. Always present yourself in the most positive light.
If there is a concern on what the appropriate attire is for a social function, contact the host or whoever invited you to get clarity on what to wear. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and ‘dress up’ for the occasion. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
2. Introduce Yourself with Confidence.
When meeting someone for the first time, be sure to shake his or her hand firmly (don’t squeeze them though) and introduce yourself by giving your full name. “Hello, my name is Samara Rivers. It is very nice to meet you!”
Your introduction should be short and sweet. You want to give your greeter a chance to introduce themselves to you. From there, the conversation can begin. Ask your greeter a question about themself – How are they enjoying the event? How has their evening been? How did they learn about the event, etc. Do not start talking about yourself. Always keep your focus on the person on whom you just met. You will get your chance to shine… Trust me, you already are!
3. Make Eye Contact.
There’s a dual purpose to making eye contact with your greeter. It’s self-reflective of your inner confidence and it assures your greeter that you are interested in getting to know them. Never look down or away. That can easily be mistranslated as you’re not interested or you don’t care. And if that’s true, exit the conversation quickly yet gracefully and move on.
4. Be Genuine and Sincere.
When you meet someone for the first time, give them your best. Approach someone the same as how you would want to be approached. Ask interesting questions that not only make your greeter feel comfortable but also spur a longer dialogue.
Compliments also go along way with making a lasting impression. If a conversation is going stale or your greeter is having a hard time opening up, lead with a compliment and watch their face light up!
This goes along with #1 and #2. Your smile is a major part of your appearance and your confidence. It is the gateway to your personality. You could be dressed to the nines and still fail in the appearance department if you have a frown on your face. Your smile makes you more approachable and inviting to people you don’t yet know. It exudes happiness, confidence, and makes those around you more comfortable. Smiles are infectious. If you can pair your smile with a great sense of humor, even better! People also remember a smile (and likewise a frown). You never want your lasting impression with someone to be, ‘That woman/man with the bad attitude’….Instead, let your smile light up the room.
6. Stop Talking!
Less is truly more when it comes to making a first impression. You’re dressed appropriately, you have a smile on your face, and you’re engaged in a great conversation. Stay in this lane. Once you’ve gotten a chance to get to know the person you just introduced yourself to, they will in turn ask you who you are. This is your opportunity to speak. Be clear and concise. If you find yourself rambling, stop. It’s better to throw the conversation back to the other person than to continue to talk about things you don’t even really care about.
Likewise, if you are unsure about something, i.e. if you ‘think’ you’ve met the person before and you actually have not, don’t bring it up. No one wants to be made into someone they supposedly ‘look like’. Same goes with giving a negative opinion on a subject. Keep those to yourself and never join in talking negatively about a certain subject. Stay neutral and stop talking.
7. Listen – Let them Talk.
The best way to really get to know someone is to listen to them. Just like you are making an impression on them; the person you are speaking with is also making an impression on you. By listening, you are analyzing if your personalities match, if you have similar interests, and if this person could be more of a friend/colleague/mentor to you. Listening also goes hand and hand with being trustworthy. If you are actively listening and engaging in conversation, your greeter will feel more comfortable in opening up more and be more receptive to your discussion.
8. Remember their Name!
Nothing is more impressive than remembering someone’s name and repeating it back to them after a long discussion or even at the end of a long event. It is the ultimate sign of appreciation. To help remember someone’s name. Repeat it back to them as soon they introduce themselves to you. Use it regularly in your conversation with them. If you see them again throughout the night, repeat their name again -- ‘Are you having a good time, Heather’? This goes a long way. Bonus points if you can remember their children’s name and their pets too!
This list seems lengthy but with good practice, it will become second nature. Above all, have fun. Let your inner personality shine through and approach others how you would want to be approached. If you always give your best, you will always give an amazing first impression.