5 ways to make a good first impression
Making a good first impression is vital!
In your work, you meet new people. Socially, you meet new people. Even down the gym you can meet new people. And if you’re a personal trainer, meeting new people is a fundamental part of your business. This happens so often that we take it for granted and don’t take the time to consider how important it is to create a first impression – and just how to do so.
We know that first impressions can make or break a relationship with someone before you have even began to know the person in context.
But just what kind of impression do you want to make with someone? Ideally, it would create a warm outlook and allow them to think positively of you right after meeting you for the first time.
I’m quite a confident person and have met a lot of people for the first time through working as a personal trainer. I’d like to share with you five tactics you can use to make your next first impression great.
1. Make more eye contact
Eye contact is the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to meeting someone for the first time. How, and for how long, you look someone in the eye can determine a lot about how the rest of this meeting is going to unfold. In my opinion, eye contact for more than 2 seconds when meeting someone is essential to gain someone’s trust. This lengthy eye contact speaks a million words. On the other hand, if one is met by a brief, interrupted and uninterested gaze, chances are that the conversation will be touchy, brief and not very personal.
2. Remember their name
This is massive, because we are more or less programmed to respond to the sound of our own name. Even though it’s not very logical, we subconsciously feel that if someone knows and remembers our name, they somehow are on a closer level than someone who doesn’t or can’t. It immediately gives you a personal point of contact with a stranger. If it’s a business meeting, or a work trip, or even someone in your local supermarket, knowing their name and greeting them with a ‘Good morning John” or ‘Lovely to meet you Angela’ immediately breaks down any nerves and allows them to relax from the start.
3. Ask questions
When meeting someone for the first time, asking them questions and showing them that you are interested in them is so important. Asking someone how they are and how their journey was this morning, for example, is such an easy, friendly way to show your friendly interest without even knowing much about them. Maybe strictly you don’t care how long their journey was, but that’s not the point. You do care about making them feel at ease.
I personally find that a conversation never takes a bad turn from you asking someone how their day has been, or even how far they have had to travel to get to where you are meeting. This initial question then opens up numerous other avenues to take your conversation.
4. Fix your own body language first
Whether you are meeting someone for the first time in a coffee shop, in the board room, or even on the street, the way you stand and hold your body can speak a million words. It’s essential to hold open body language. Shutting off your body to someone by crossing your arms or even facing slightly sideways can seem closed and like you don’t want the person to know you. Standing or sitting upright and attentively, on the other hand, will also make you look professional and alert.
Before analysing the other person’s body language too much, make sure you’re not coming off as lazy and uninterested by having slumped shoulders and a rounded back. You’ll find the other person will usually follow your lead without noticing, and open up too.
5. Put your best face forward
Do you know what you look like when you are listening to people? Does your interested face actually look interested? If people’s conversations are met by a lack of expression on your part, then this isn’t going to give the impression you wish. Listening is the first step, of course, And then, try to smile and nod at the end of their sentences. For example, when they are explaining something or making a statement show that you agree and can relate by smiling and recognising their input. This is vital when trying to get on someone’s level at a first meeting.
Whatever line of work you are in, whatever chapter of your life you are going through, and wherever you wish to take your future, the points above should be helpful.
What other strategies do you use for making a good impression and allowing people to open up to you? Let me know in the comments.