Written by Salina Jivani
We all know first impressions count—a lot. Whether you’re meeting a coworker for the first time, interviewing with your future manager, finally chatting up that hottie you’ve been eyeing in the Starbucks line, or simply speaking with a friendly stranger in the bread aisle of your local grocer—your first impression will be a lasting one. So how do you make it impactful? Here are three tips to get you started.
Know what you do—and be able to explain it
One of the most common questions you’ll get when you first meet someone is: So, what do you do? And we’ve all spoken to someone who tries to answer this question only for you to hear crickets chirping at the end. Remember that while your occupation and job responsibilities are clear to you, they likely won’t be to a stranger. So be able to articulate—in Layman’s and simplistic terms—what it is you do, and try to keep it high level.
Mind your body language
Sometimes we’re so focused on verbal cues that we forget all about the non-verbal ones. Your body language says a lot about you and how you’re processing a conversation. Don’t cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets. These postures often relay a lack of confidence or communicate a defensive stance. Instead, put your hands by your sides, keep your back straight and shoulders wide, and remain relaxed to show that you’re confident and interested in the conversation at hand.
Be a fabulous listener
Listen more than you talk. While a two way dialogue is integral in any conversation, showing someone that you’re listening, interested in and respectful of what they’re saying is sure to set a strong impression of you—because when you listen to someone, you make them feel important. And who doesn’t love feeling important?
In short, your facial expressions, tone, and body language all matter in your first encounter. So pay attention to them and leave a positive mark—the very first time, every time!