Success at work and life depends to some extent on relating well to people. And most people will decide whether they want to associate further with you based on their first impressions. Here’s how you can make a great first impression on others.
How the make a great first impression
1. Dress smartly
People see you before they even start talking to you. Like it or not, they will judge you by how you look. If you’re reading this in a public place, take a quick look around and pick out a few people whom you think are successful or that you’d want to be friends with. Then look at how they are dressed. Chances are that they are dressed well.
You don’t have buy expensive clothes or be dressed to the nines at all times. You do need to look clean, and show that you have good taste. Here are a few rules of thumb:
- Wear clothes that fit – not too loose or worse, too tight.
- Make sure your clothes are pressed and have no visible stains.
- Dress for the occasion. If in doubt, overdressing is safer than underdressing.
- Use a maximum of three different colours at any one time.
- Accessories should blend in with and enhance your look, not scream for attention.
2. Groom meticulously
People may forgive your bad dress sense, but very few will be able to overlook your grooming or lack thereof. While limited means may restrict a person’s ability to dress well, there is no excuse for not being clean. Follow these basic rules:
- You should smell clean. Use deodorant if necessary.
- Use scent sparingly. You want to attract, not knock the other person out.
- Assume you have bad breath and routinely freshen your breath with mints or sprays.
- Clean your nails, and keep them short unless they’re manicured.
3. Look at people and smile
While dressing and grooming are our ‘outer dress’, our attitude and approachability are the ‘inner dress’. Look people in the eye when you see them. This is an acknowledgement of their existence, and we are all impressed by those who notice us, aren’t we? Smiling indicates that you welcome them into your world, and sets the stage for a good first meeting even before any words are exchanged.
4. Show an interest in them
The best way to make a great first impression is to focus on the other person. Listen attentively when they speak. Answer any questions they ask about you, but keep your answers short. Turn the spotlight back on them when you can. Give people a chance to talk about themselves and they’ll find you enormously engaging.
5. Use their names
Dale Carnegie noted that the sweetest sound to any person’s ears is his own name. Learn the names of people you meet and use them as often as appropriate. You don’t have to repeat the name in every sentence, but you could use it when asking them the next question about themselves (“Tell me, Susan, how often do you eat at this restaurant?”), or when reacting to something they said (“That’s a good point, Terry. I hadn’t thought of that before”).
6. Give people a reason to remember you
Perhaps you could offer to send them some information about a topic that they were particularly interested in. Or invite them to an event that they may find useful or interesting. You could also suggest having coffee when you’re next in the vicinity of their office or home.
When you can be of service to somebody, they will remember you a lot better after the meeting because you have identified a need or want in their lives that you can help with.
Make a great first impression, and it’s easy to impress again
Remember that first impressions last. When you make a great first impression on others, they will have the same good impression of you the next time you meet. You can ride that wave and continue to focus on them, use their name, be of service etc. Be consistent in the above 6 ways, and you can form great relationships.