Is it that big of a deal?
Many times, it’s bigger than a second or third encounter with that same person.
Why, though? Aren’t we taught as kids not to judge a book by its cover?
Yes, but in the professional world…
That’s just lip service.
The truth is, appearance matters.
We live in a world filled with short attention spans, where trust isn’t gained easily.
So if your goal is to get further ahead in your social or professional life…
You need to get people to like you…
You need to be remembered. Pleasantly.
Not sure how? Fear not, gents. I’ve got you covered.
Today I’m sharing 10 surefire tips for nailing any first impression.
(Watch out for #9 – it’s been a huge help for me!)
Click Here To Watch The Video – Leave Good First Impressions
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Click Here To Watch The Video – How To Make People Like You
First Impression Tip #1 – Be On Time & Do Your Homework
Sounds easy enough, right? In theory, yes. If only more of us consistently followed this rule.
It isn’t the end of the world (although it is quite rude) if you’re late, for example, to a dentist appointment or parent-teacher conferences. But when your career’s on the line, being on time matters! It matters in particular to the well-respected influencers and prospective future employers in your field. You know who I mean. You’ll meet some of them next month at the convention you’re attending. Do you want them to catch you sneaking into their keynote speech fifteen minutes late cos you overslept and stopped at Starbucks on your way there? (Hint: NO!)
Punctuality is a habit. You have the power to make it yours. You’ll realize in the long run how great it feels to show up on time, to have no sense of guilt for having others wait on you.
On a related note, you have to be prepared for such encounters with VIPs. For any instance when you fail to prepare, you prepare for failure. It’ll be in the form of a poor first impression or missed opportunity. So how exactly do you prepare?
Always do a bit of research on the people you’re going to see before any event you attend. If there’s a prominent lawyer, consultant or media mogul you wish to discuss business with, you should know what company he works for, the titles of his books or what his YouTube channel is all about. Having that info gives you a leg up on others who’ll also be interacting with him.
First Impression Tip #2 – Wear The Right Uniform
As a rule, you must dress in accordance with the occasion. And there is always a dress code. Go casual if it’s a casual event, and formal if it’s a business-like setting. Value the style pyramid when you pick your clothes.
But also bear in mind that your clothing has to communicate positive messages about you, your status, your profession, and the company you represent.
If I decided to attend a surfers convention, I probably wouldn’t wear board shorts and puka shells. I’d still come in a nice sports jacket and well-fitted dress shirt – but I’d lose the tie – to stay loyal to my brand and the image of Real Men Real Style. That’s what makes me stand out and impress those who meet me for the first time.
First Impression Tip #3 – Greet People Properly
If making first impressions was like running a sprint, the greeting is the equivalent of how you perform at the starting line. If you do it right, it’ll give you momentum for the rest of the run. Otherwise, you’ll probably stumble in the first few meters and then lose big time.
When you greet someone, offer your name and give a firm but gentle handshake in which your palm and fingers touch the other person’s. That’s what works in most of the Western world. But other countries and cultures may have their own customs for greeting. Ensure that you’re aware of these before you travel anywhere. Do your research. It means so much to the locals when foreigners show respect to their customs.
First Impression Tip #4 – Make Good Eye Contact
Eye contact is probably the most vital form of non-verbal communication (more so than one’s handshake or sitting posture). Unfortunately, there’s no “universal” rule when it comes to it. Your culture and social environment play a major role.
As someone living in the U.S., I advise those from North America to stick to the 50/70 percent rule. Look others in the eye 50% of the time when you talk, and 70% of the time when you listen. Why are such numbers necessary? The fact is most people aren’t comfortable with too little or too MUCH eye contact. There’s a fine line between paying attention and being aggressive with your eye contact. Check out this article on common eye contact mistakes to learn more.
First Impression Tip #5 – Assume They Like You
Do you know the feeling when you bump into an old friend on the sidewalk? Pleasant surprise? Excitement? No nerves or anxiety because you’re eager to catch up? That’s how you should feel to some extent when meeting people you want to impress.
The key is to have a mindset that the other person already likes you. Of course, it doesn’t mean you speak to them exactly like you do with close friends (Be respectful: familiarity breeds contempt!). But with that similar energy and positive vibe – your body relaxes. You become more open and your words flow better. You put on a genuine smile. That person will pick up on those things and feel much more comfortable around you. And you’ll be well on your way to impressing them.
First Impression Tip #6 – Get Their Name, Remember It, Say It Correctly
Nothing sounds sweeter to somebody’s ears than their own name. They care about their name and the way it’s pronounced. Their name is a big part of who they’ve always known themselves to be. So once they mention it, you’re obligated to remember it.
Now I know not all of us are great with names. If your memory fails you when it comes to new peoples’ names, there are certain tricks that can help you remember. Repeat the person’s name as soon as they introduce themselves. Work it naturally into the conversation that follows: “Nice to meet you, Tony” or “How long have you been working at D&D, Tony?” Those techniques work wonders for your first impressions, especially at networking events with lots of new faces.
First Impression Tip #7 – Control Your Body Language
Don’t get so focused on what to say next that you forget about the non-verbal signals you’re sending. Before you know it, you get fidgety. The arms start shaking. Your nose twitches. The hands cling to your pocket…then to your elbow.
As innocent as they are, those little tics can distract people from listening to your words. They might even completely turn people off to you. So what’s the best solution? Pay attention to the other person’s body language and copy it.
If you wonder why I suggest this, take note that it’s based on the strategy of mirroring – or mimicking someone’s behavior in subtle ways. It’s not about being a parrot and imitating every arm motion or finger tap. Your goal is to exude some familiarity and common ground. Researchers at New York University have called this the “chameleon effect.” The general aspects of body language, like folding the arms or talking with one hand at neck level, are what you can mimic to come across as relatable and likable.
First Impression Tip #8 – Be A Great Listener
We come into this world with a pair of eyes, a pair of ears, and just one mouth. Why? Because it’s more important to observe and listen than to talk. And in an age in which anybody can air their thoughts in just a couple of clicks – that’s a truth we should always bear in mind.
People are so used to loudmouths and egomaniacs. For this reason, it’s really refreshing nowadays to meet someone who doesn’t prattle on without stopping for breath. People are drawn to a keen listener, a guy who isn’t just waiting for them to finish and asks follow-up questions. A guy who gives comments such as “Wow!” or “Congratulations!” to show appreciation for the speaker. Be that guy.
First Impression Tip #9 – Be Open To Talking About Yourself
Here I present my secret “ninja” technique. It’s not mind-blowing or extraordinary but it is incredibly helpful.
The trick with this is learning how to talk engagingly. You’re not going to stick out in a sea of small-talkers at a party or conference unless you make yourself super memorable to others.
For example, this is how I’d go about giving a good first impression to a woman in her forties who works as a high-level consultant:
- I understand she’s not my target audience for RMRS, but she might know somebody else or she’s married to a man who could use my help.
- I approach her, say hello, and gradually steer the dialogue so I can ask “Do you know how most men don’t dress well?” (which I must’ve said thousands of times before).
- She agrees. We have something in common. I proceed to tell her about my business, my YouTube channel, the products and courses I sell, and who I help.
- The conversation ends. She remembers me for the relatable and interesting stuff I said.
In a nutshell, that’s how I continue to build connections. And you’re encouraged to emulate that as long as you’re confident with yourself and proud of what you do.
First Impression Tip #10 – Bring Other People Into The Conversation
Never end a conversation abruptly. Finish just as strongly as you started. That’s why it helps to know different people to introduce to one another. It highlights that you’re a confident team player with the ability to take initiative.
When you reach a point where you want to end your side of the conversation, or you’re worried you might be talking too much, go ahead and bring in a friend or acquaintance nearby who isn’t busy speaking with others. Afterward, you can excuse yourself politely. Say you’re getting another drink or you need to speak to somebody else who just arrived. You successfully avoid any awkwardness by ending this way.
There you have it, gents. Ten valuable tips to make every first impression a killer one. Bear them in mind, practice at home in front the mirror, and see what areas you can improve on each time you meet new people. If anyone you meet can “tick” off all the positive traits that come with those tips – punctual, well-dressed, well-spoken, polite, and memorable – your odds of nailing first impressions will skyrocket.
Treat yourself like a world-class novel that has so much to offer, that’s ready to be opened up and discovered. Everything’s been written to perfection. All that’s left is the book cover. So make it a masterpiece so people will want to open it.