First Impressions

We all have exactly one chance to make a good first impression. In the first six to thirty seconds of meeting someone new, they will make several assumptions about you including your success, education and knowledge. Many people make these assumptions from your appearance before you even say a single word! Your clothing, posture and facial expressions affect these judgments. Unfortunately, if the opposite person forms a negative opinion of you, a lot of hard work is required to gain credibility.Although many of us understand how important first impressions are, we sometimes fail to make a positive one. We might be upset, irritated or tired that day and therefore create a lousy impression. Here are a few things you should keep in mind to impress everyone you just met:
 

Smile

Smile when you first introduce yourself. It is not necessary that you show your teeth; you can give a simple grin. Do not laugh the first 60 seconds and do not fake your smile either as it will be obvious since real smiles pull back both the mouth and eyes, so smile from your heart but not to the extent that your upper or lower gum shows! Be careful not to shift from a smile to a straight face too quickly, or people will sense that you’re being fake or that you dislike them.
 


 

Posture

Carry yourself well by keeping your back straight while sitting, standing and walking. Hold your head and chin high and keep your shoulders relaxed.
 

Keep your hands to your side or in your lap. Never fidget, bite your fingernails, play with your hair or a napkin.
 


 

Grooming

Go easy on the perfume; you don’t want to choke everyone with the smell. Spray your perfume into a distance and wait a few seconds before walking through the sprayed area. Do not spray your right hand as the smell will move onto another person’s hand while introducing yourself and it can be annoying to get rid of.
 


 

Speech

Present yourself appropriately “Good afternoon, I am James, you are/your name is?”
 

When introduced, keep repeating the person’s name throughout the conversation to remember the name and to make the person feel important: “It’s so nice to meet, you Sara.”
 

Get the person to talk about himself or herself. “So, what do you usually do in your free time?” A compliment is sometimes appropriate “That’s a lovely shirt”.
 


 

Clothing

Choose clothes that are appropriate for the time of the day, occasion and environment. Do consider the season as well. Example: Never wear sandals during the winter, even if you are just going to the mall.
 


 

Mood

We all have a bad day every once in a while but you don’t get another chance to make a better impression, so look happy and focused.
 


 

Handshake & Eye Contact

Develop a powerful handshake. No, this doesn’t mean you should crush the other person’s hand but you should have a firm grip and pump your hand once or twice only.
 

Make direct eye contact as this will add to your credibility. Great eye contact shows people that you are genuinely interested in them. A powerful technique you can use is to notice the color of the other person’s eyes as you shake their hand or introduce yourself.

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