6 tips for making a great first impression

A first impression is when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person. Even though a lot of what goes into forming a first impression is unconscious, understanding what you do when this happens can help you become more aware when you are trying to form a new relationship.

Within seconds of meeting someone you will start to assess a person depending on such things as their appearance, body language and voice. This assessment of someone has a direct bearing on the level of rapport established.

Here are six ways to make a positive first impression:

#1: Check your Attitude

People pick up your attitude instantly. Before greeting someone think about the situation and make a conscious choice about the attitude you want to portray.

#2: Body Language

People will always look to the body language before they listen to the spoken word. So straighten your posture

#3: Eye-Contact

The first point of contact in a face-to-face meeting is via the eyes. You should strive to maintain good, open and honest eye-contact. To improve your eye contact, make a practice of noticing the eye color of everyone you meet.

#4: Shake Hands

This is the fastest and most effective way to establish rapport. Extending your hand palm upwards in the “submissive” position. By placing the other person in a “dominant” and therefore safe position, they feel in control.

#5: Smile

Smiling is a sign of welcome. It shows friendliness and acceptance, helping the other person to loosen-up and be open with you in turn.

#6: Lean in slightly

Leaning forward shows you’re engaged and interested. But be respectful of the other person’s space.

By now you have unconsciously critiqued the person you have just met and are placing them into the appropriate “box” or stereotype. Judgment is one of the ways we process information but it is also a two-way process. Within two minutes, both parties have decided whether the other is a credible professional – or not.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it a positive one!

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