Psychologists say that it only takes one tenth of a second for someone to form an impression of you. It’s tough to change that original impression, so it’s important that you’re making a great first impression.
What makes a great first impression? There isn’t one single thing that ensures you can make a positive and memorable first impression on someone, but there are tried and true tips and techniques that can help you out. Whether you’re out to impress customers, colleagues, investors, or potential business partners, making a great first impression is important.
We’ll show you what goes into making a great first impression below. You can adopt these characteristics to make a good impression to everyone you meet. This post is a great resource if you’re interested in making a great first impression over the phone. Keep reading!
What goes into making a great first impression?
So many factors go into forming first impressions. Among them are your appearance and facial expressions, the other person’s past experiences and personality traits, how much or little you speak, and what you speak about. Each factor that goes into making a great first impression is listed below.
Appearance and facial expressions
When you meet someone, what are the first things you notice? Before the other person has even spoken, you’ve assessed their physical appearance, apparent trustworthiness, likability, and aggressiveness. This all takes place in under one tenth of a second. There isn’t much you can do to swing the odds in your favor here, but smiling is a good way to start.
Your facial expressions, even if accidental or unnoticed, make an impression on the other person. If they perceive that you’re angry or annoyed, that sets the tone for your interactions. These judgments happen quickly, so stay on your toes!
Their past experiences and personality
The way people perceive you also has a lot to do with their own past and personality. Their past experiences and personality traits are the lens through which they see the world.
Sometimes, without trying, you make a great first impression simply because you remind them of someone they know. Unfortunately, it’s possible to make a bad impression just by reminding someone of a person they don’t like.
Personality traits also influence the way people view and perceive you. A talkative person meeting a very reserved individual may feel they’ve been snubbed or done something wrong. You can’t change or even know someone’s past or personality right away. This is the reason you can’t guarantee a great first impression every time.
How much or little you speak
Commanding the conversation is a sure way to make a bad first impression. Clamming up and saying nothing is, too. Speaking too much or too little can be a major factor in someone’s developing impression of you.
To shoot for making the best first impression, make this your mantra: “Listen more than you speak.” The goal is not to create awkward silence or to let the other person do all the talking. Just focus on listening well and you’ll make the other person feel heard and understood. The golden rule here: No interrupting!
What you talk about
Choose your words carefully when making an impression. People are adept at reading between the lines. Speaking about yourself too much is a no-no. Exaggerating your contributions or accomplishments is a bad idea. Avoid complaining about anyone or anything, even if the other person agrees.
What should you talk about? Your flaws, real feelings, fears, passions – anything that “humanizes” you. It’s scary to be vulnerable to strangers, but it’s proven to cement new connections and create better first impressions.
Apparent level of interest
The other party is looking to see how interested you are. They know you’re not interested if you’re looking away, fidgeting, playing with your phone, etc. We don’t really like people that aren’t interested when we speak. It’s human nature. Use this to your advantage by listening well and showing signs of interest.
Show your interest by:
- Leaning in when they speak
- Nodding your head to show agreement
- Smiling slightly as they speak
- Making regular eye contact
- Paraphrasing their words when it’s your turn
Making a great first impression involves all these factors, but perhaps the most important is being genuine. Others sense sincerity and always appreciate it, so even if it means breaking some of the rules above, always be yourself. Any additional tips to share on making a great first impression? Leave them in the comments!