No matter the industry you work in first impressions are important. In those first moments of meeting someone new you are judging can I trust this person, are they competent, will we get along, etc. It is so important to understand and master the art of first impressions. Here are six tips on how to get started:
- Be on time. This can’t be stressed enough. The person you are meeting does not care about why you are late or what excuse you have, no matter how valid it may be. Being on time is the first vital step in making a good first impression.
- Put your phone down. No matter who you are talking to it’s a good idea to give them your undivided attention, but if it is someone new it is even more important. Showing them that you are interested and engaged will make them want to talk to you and continue conversation with you.
- Use active listening. This means you should nod or make small comments of acknowledgement. Ask questions. Write notes if it’s appropriate. Summarize and repeat back what is being said to you to show that you are paying attention.
- Positive body language. Make sure that your facial expression and gestures reflect the point you are trying to make. Be active in your movements, but not aggressive.
- Talk second. Let the other person take the lead in the conversation. This opens up room for you to ask more questions and it builds their trust in you.
- Do your homework. Come in prepared with a good knowledge base on the other person and/or the company. Have questions prepared and ways to link your background back to their profession or company.