~How to Make a Good First Impression~

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Do you enjoy social gatherings where you’re meeting & mingling with new people? Maybe you’d rather stay home with a good movie & your dog??!

It can feel awkward & uncomfortable but there are ways to make it less so…& even halfway enjoyable!;) Whether you’re a social person or not, there are ways to make these gatherings better!

Now, if you’re anything like me, I did not think my mere presence mattered that much or that people really noticed what I did or didn’t do (speaking as an introvert)….but in time I learned that this is NOT the case. We all matter of course! & people are paying attention… & even affected by our actions or inactions! Once we realize this, we know how important it is to make a good impression & make that first impression especially good & memorable!

First of all, think about people you have met & liked right away. What was it about them? Did they have charisma? Were they outgoing? Did you just feel good after talking with them? Not saying you have to be like someone else but there are often common characteristics that people who are instantly “likeable” have.

Below are some tips I would like to share to help you make your first impressions good & even great!

Dress for the Occasion ~ besides good hygiene, you’ll want to think about what is appropriate to wear for the place you’re going. Is it business or social? Formal or casual? For example, it’s important to dress professionally if you’re attending a business function. An important tip for any situation; when you’re unsure of the formality, it’s always better to dress up, not down! Take some time with dressing & grooming; this will help you to feel confident!

Shake Hands ~ especially important in business situations but important in almost any setting. Once introduced to someone, stand up (if you’re not already), make eye contact, give a warm smile & extend your hand. Make it a firm (but not rough) handshake. I have always been impressed by someone who initiates the handshake! It shows interest, initiative & confidence! If you’re interested, there’s a lot more detail to learn regarding the handshake. I recommend the book Empower Your Presence by Catherine Bell, http://www.prime-impressions.com/

Remember Names ~ sometimes hard when being introduced to more than one person but do your best with this. Repeating their name when you shake their hand could help, for example “nice to meet you _______” Also, thinking of someone you already know with this name may help. It definitely makes people feel good when you remember their name!

Listen Attentively ~ ask questions & give the person your speaking with, your full attention. Asking questions of someone, discussing their interests etc. (rather than just talking about yourself) makes people feel valued & generally good about themselves!

Thinking of topics to discuss? If you were introduced, sometimes the introducer will give you a lead with this by saying something about each of you. If you met independently, use what you do know about them to start conversation. You can also discuss how you each know the host, or discuss the venue etc. etc.. Just remember, when speaking about yourself or your business, keep it minimal unless you’re being asked questions, even then, be mindful of it.

Take Cues ~ if the person you’re speaking with seems distracted, they may want to be excused from your conversation. Do not take this personally, they may just want to continue mingling & meet other guests as well. You definitely don’t want to “overstay your welcome” so to speak & it’s important for you to make time to meet & connect with others too. Many people find ending the conversation awkward but there are a number of ways to excuse yourself, i.e. you can use the old, I must find a washroom (but make sure you really go there) or that you need to find your date, your co-worker etc. or by simply saying that you know there are a number of people they would probably like to talk to & you don’t want to monopolize all their time. Most importantly, end with expressing how much you’ve enjoyed meeting & speaking with them!

I hope these tips help you with your next function! It may seem like a lot to remember but don’t be overwhelmed… just do your best, smile confidently & be your friendly self!

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Sources:
Empower Your Presence, Catherine Bell https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/FirstImpressions.htm

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