Did you know that when meeting someone for the first time, the first 30 seconds will determine whether you impress them or not? In fact, some scientists would even argue that within 7 seconds, someone will have already made a conclusion about you in their mind.
This suggests that you only get one shot at first impressions. Whether you’re on a date, at work, an interview, school, or meeting new friends, you need to be able to make a good impression immediately to establish successful relationships with the ultimate goal of having people remember you in a positive light, long after you’ve made the connection.
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So, What About First Impressions?
Before diving into the how, let’s first understand what first impressions are all about. It is the initial perception another person will have towards you based on your appearance, personality, style, and physical attributes.
Meeting new people can be a challenging and daunting experience, especially if one is an introvert. However, the ability to make a good impression is a vital skill that you need to possess because it can make or break your opportunities in life.
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The Importance of First Impressions
Below are a few scenarios that elaborate on the importance of first impressions. They include:
It creates lasting impressions
A good first impression tends to create a lasting impact in the minds of other people. This is due to the primacy effect, which explains that in a sequence, the first thing that someone experiences or comes across tends to stick in their mind more than the other items in the sequence.
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The quality of initial interactions in any set up determine the value of progress that will result from it. If you are a business owner, having a great first interaction with your customers will create a lasting impression that will motivate them to seek your services again in future.
It creates positive momentum
In any interaction, momentum is vital to determine the course of the relationship. If you walk into an interview and build a great first impression, the interviewers are more likely to view you favorably, which gives you a higher probability of landing the job. The same principle applies in dating.
How you present yourself to your date for the first time will either create a positive or negative momentum. If your date likes you, they will likely want to see you again, which will be a result of positive momentum. On the other hand, if you fail to make a great first impression, your date may be disappointed and may not be willing to try a second date. This is the result of negative momentum.
It gives you a competitive edge
Digital communication and technology have made it easier for customers to get access to products and services online. If you own an online business, then making great first impressions will keep you ahead of your competitors.
You need to find a way to display your products and services in front of your potential customers in an exciting and attractive way to catch their attention. This can be done through social media, phone calls, emails, and face to face interactions during sales.
As you can see, first impressions are not just about in person meetings. How you present your business and brand to others will determine the amount of leads and conversions you get.
There are several situations where making good first impressions can really benefit you. Check out the first impression examples below.
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How to Make A Good First Impression on a Date
Picture this. Your crush just agreed to go out on a date with you and you are over the moon with excitement. You want everything to go perfect and you really want to impress them. If that sounds like you, then this big secret will change the course of your dating life forever.
The key to keep someone interested in you is by making such a great first impression that they can’t wait to ask you out again. Here are a few tips on how to approach and meet women and finally get that relationship that you desire.
Pay attention to your appearance
Ensure that you’re dressing the part when it comes to what to wear for the all-important date. And although you should definitely dress to impress, don’t go overboard with it, as it will make you look as if you’re trying too hard.
If you have a personal uniform, then opt for it during the first date. A uniform is essentially your signature style that you naturally look good in and comprises of garments of clothing that you love wearing. If your uniform is on the casual side, perhaps you can dress one level above that, of course keeping in mind the venue and whether or not it’s a first or fifth date.
Keep in mind your hairstyle, clothes and shoes that your friends or colleagues always compliment you on, these are also great candidates for what to wear on your date. Not only will you look attractive, but you will also be confident because you will be in your best element.
Prolong eye contact
Nothing creates a genuine connection quicker than eye contact. If you want to pique the romantic interest of your date, ensure that you make and maintain eye contact with them as you have conversations. This will convey to them that you are really interested in what they are saying, and they will like you more for it.
Prolonged eye contact also makes your words seem more valuable and sincere, which makes them more memorable to your date. If you want your date to smile by themselves later as they remember what you said, then ensure that you maintain eye contact throughout your conversations.
Besides, have you ever talked to someone who didn’t want to look you in the eye? Chances are high that you probably suspected them to be lying or lacking in confidence because they couldn’t look at you. Additionally, prolonged eye contact during a date makes you stand out and seem more confident, self-aware, and authentic.
Be on time
The best way to ruin a good date is to arrive late without any proper explanation. If you really want to create positive momentum in your interactions from day one, be keen on little things like time management. Ensure that you arrive on time to the date. If possible, you can arrive a bit early as well. This will make you seem more thoughtful and well put together.
The last thing you want during the date is for your partner to assume that you are tardy in nature. If you guys had made a dinner reservation at 8, ensure that you arrive at the venue at around 7:50. This will also guarantee that you will secure your table and everything will proceed as planned.
Keep your phone away
Scrolling on social media can be quite addictive. However, you need to keep your phone away during the date. Your full attention should be focused on your date and not your phone. If you spend too much time checking alerts and notifications, you will create a poor impression as your date will likely feel undervalued and unappreciated, thereby ruining the whole experience.
You don’t have to turn off your phone, just keep it on silent and if you must lay it on the table, keep it face down. Remember that you only get one chance at first impressions. It’s best to keep your phone tucked away, unless there’s an emergency or you want to show her something that would add value to the conversation.
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How to Make a Good First Impression at Work
Did you just land a new job or internship? If you want to start the job on good terms with everyone, then you need to be aware of the importance of first impressions. Here are a few tips of how you can put your best foot forward at your new internship or job.
Get there early
It’s a good idea to arrive early on your first day at work. This will show your new employer how punctual, responsible, and dependable you are. Before going to bed, set an alarm that will wake you up early and give you enough time to get ready for work.
If you live far from work, leave early so that in case you encounter a traffic jam on the way, you will still show up to work on time. The worst thing you can do on your first day at work is arrive late with a lame excuse. Aim to create a great impression from the beginning and you will get off on the right foot.
At a new workplace, people will definitely judge your appearance on the first day. Make certain that you dress appropriately and professionally. This does not mean you have to wear a suit, unless you’re in finance or law. However, it’s always better to be overdressed than to be underdressed.
If you’re uncertain of what to wear, examine what others around the office are wearing and match their level of formality. That being said, avoid showing too much skin, wearing gym clothes, or dressing up in a ripped outfit on your first day at work. A clean and well put-together appearance will create a better impression and convey that you have ethical and professional standards.
Joining a new workplace can feel intimidating and challenging, but all that can be worked out if you are social on your first day at work. Try your best to resist the urge to hide behind your desk and interact with your new co-workers instead. Of course the manager may introduce you to the team, but you will make more impact by being friendly, introducing yourself, and sharing a little about who you are with the rest.
Keep in mind that everyone in that job was once new themselves and you will find it easier to interact. Say hi to people along the corridors, in the elevator, in the office, and before the meeting beginnings. Creating a good rapport will help you fit in better with the rest and create a positive lasting impression.
Be both professional and friendly
Sometimes the urge to fit in and be accepted may be so strong that you find yourself oversharing details about your life. This may create awkward moments with your new coworkers. Instead, keep the conversations light, simple, and work related. Ask questions related to work. If you don’t understand something, ask for help. Go with the flow of conversations in the workplace.
If the coworker you’re interacting with tells you something about their family, such as how proud they are of their child who just graduated from college, you can congratulate them and maybe share something great about your family as well. Otherwise, keep the conversations about work related topics in order to maintain friendly and professional relationships at work.
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How to Make a Good First Impression with New Friends
Are you in need of making new friends? Maybe you just moved to a new neighborhood, got a new job, or transferred to a new school. Making friends will help you adjust to the new environment faster and easier. So how will you make new friends? Here are a few tips on how you can impress people and make them desire to be your friend.
People love it when others notice their positive attributes. If you want to make friends in a new environment, give people compliments. If you notice that someone is dressed sharply, got a new haircut, or is rocking a new pair of shoes, tell them how good they look. They will appreciate you and desire to be around you more often because you make them feel good about themselves.
If you’re at a new workplace, compliment your coworker for the impressive presentation they gave during a meeting. The bottom line is that when you compliment people more often, they will warm up to you and are more likely to be your friend because you pay attention to them.
Be kind and polite
Another way to create a great first impression with new people is by being kind and polite to everyone you come across. People are more attracted to good kind hearted people instead of mean, rude, or arrogant individuals.
If you’re in a new school and you witness someone being bullied, don’t mock or laugh at them. Instead, extend a kind helpful hand towards them and you will surely make a friend. In case you notice that someone is crying or looking devastated, approach them gently and ask what is wrong.
If you come across someone who is in a bad mood, do not engage with them in a mean exchange of words. Instead just apologize, be polite, and back away from them. All the above actions will create a positive first impression and lasting impression.
Work on your body language
How do you present yourself in social settings? Do you tend to keep your arms closed? Are your legs always crossed when you’re in public places? These body positions send out a signal to the people around you that you are unapproachable and you desire to be left alone.
Perhaps your body language is the reason you are struggling to make new friends. Try this instead. Next time you are in school, at work, or in a public place, avoid closing your arms. Instead keep them at your sides. Additionally, ensure that your legs are straight or uncrossed.
Another thing that will create a lasting impression that will draw people to you is the look you have on your face. Wear your smile. When you smile, people will perceive that you are kind and will likely strike conversations with you, which may lead to some pretty great friendships.
How to Make a Good First Impression at an Interview
So, you finally heard back from that job you applied for a few weeks ago and now you are looking forward to an interview. If they called you back, then it means that you could potentially land the job because you have the skills they need.
» You might like this guide on: What to Wear for a Job Interview (How to Dress in 4 Different Scenarios).
Note, however, that other people will be present at the interview as well. Your best shot at getting the job is by creating such a positive impression during the interview that they have no choice but to give you the job. Here are several things that can help you make a positive impression and get the job.
Before getting into the tips, it’s a given that you should have an assertive, but not overbearing handshake. There’s nothing worse than a weak or limp handshake that unconsciously is sure to leave a negative first impression. And now here’s how you can make the best first impression for an interview.
Some interviewers disqualify people who come to the interview late. Ensure that you arrive early to the interview to avoid getting into any sort of trouble. Moreover, arriving early will give you time to settle in and get in the right mind before going into the interview room.
Imagine getting to the interview late, sweaty, and short of breath because you had to run only for the receptionist to tell you that you are next. You would end up facing your potential employers looking tired, sweaty, and confused, thereby creating a bad impression and lowering your chances of getting the job.
Always dress to impress, that means coming in a level above what you believe is expected. If it’s a place of business and people tend to dress to the nines, then don’t turn up to the interview in casual attire. This will convey that you are lacking in situational awareness, create a poor impression, and lower your chance of landing the job.
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These days, what’s most important is your attitude and personability. Simply put, companies want to hire good-natured, likeable people who won’t be a pain in the butt to work with. Ultimately it comes down to how you carry yourself, but it doesn’t hurt to also look the part. It’s a simple way to impress
Prepare well for the interview
Just because you got the interview doesn’t mean that you will get the job. You need to convince the interviewer why you are the best person for the job. You can only do this by creating a positive and lasting impression. Research all you can about the company.
What is the goal and vision of the company? How well equipped are you to helping the company achieve its objectives? This means that you have to be ready to explain why you think you are the best fit for the job. Identify your strengths and weaknesses in regards to the position that they are offering you.
Avoid memorizing answers from Google because almost everyone else will do that. Aim to stick out. Make the answers unique to you. Show the interviewer the value that you could bring to their company.
Additionally, ask questions during the interview. This will convey that you are really interested in the role and company. You will create a good impression and increase your chances of getting the job.
How to Make a Good First Impression at School
A lot of pressure comes with joining a new school. The key to making a positive first impression is by being authentic and true to yourself. Here are a few tricks about how you can make a good impression at school.
Control your body language
When at school, ensure that your body language conveys that you are open and friendly so that you can make friends easier. Avoid fidgeting too much in your seat, as this may make you seem anxious and unapproachable.
Additionally, do not sit with your arms closed all day long since this sends out a message that you do not want to be approached. Try making eye contact with people as many times as possible.
Moreover, do not sit facing away from people; rather face people as you sit. Smiling can also help to attract people towards you. By applying these body language tips, you will encourage several people to start conversations with you and build friendships.
During your first day to a new school, ensure that you put on an outfit that you feel comfortable in. Avoid wearing something that you’re not used to because it might make you feel awkward, lower your confidence, and cause other students to make fun of you.
Wear something that reflects your personality. When you look your best, you will feel your best, and you will create a positive impression to everyone you meet.
Get a head start
Since you are joining a new school, make sure you do not get in trouble with the administration by arriving late. Prepare everything you will need before you go to sleep so that you can have ample time to get ready and leave early so that you get a head start. Moreover, you will likely be introduced to the students before classes begin thereby allowing you to find a comfortable seat and get acquainted with the student before classes start.
Books & Resources on Making First Impressions
- How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You by Ann Demarais Ph.D. and Valerie White Ph.D.
- Second First Impressions: A Novel by Sally Thorne
- First Impressions Count by The American Psychological Association
And there you have it. You learned about the importance of first impressions and how to make a great first impression at on a date, at work, with new friends, at an interview and at school. We hope that you found this article helpful. Now go out there and start making great first impressions with those who matter most.
When was the last time you left a great first impression?
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