First impressions count. According to a study done by Psychological Science, it takes one-tenth of a second after meeting someone for our brains to collect information that leads to conclusions about their trustworthiness, morality, friendliness, and more. Whether we like it or not, those first few moments can have lasting effects on how we’re viewed by the people around us. There’s no specific rulebook for making a good first impression, but there are measures you can take to help ensure you’ll be off to a good start with strangers. Here are a few critical things to keep in mind when meeting someone for the first time.
Pay Attention to Body Language
Body language is a huge factor that influences how others perceive us. To ensure you’re making a good first impression, here are a few things you can keep in mind. First, be sure to maintain an appropriate amount of eye contact. This make you seem trustworthy, as avoiding eye contact gives off the impression that you’re hiding something. Next, use good posture to project confidence and assertiveness. Be sure not to slouch. You want others to view you as capable, not timid or unsure of yourself. However, you don’t want to come across as aggressive, so try to avoid “commando” postures, such as putting your hands on your hips or crossing your arms. This may make the other person uneasy, which won’t do you any favors for making a positive impression.
Dress for Success
It’s no surprise that appearances count. Humans rely on visual cues to make important judgment calls about our surroundings. As an evolutionary trait, our brains have been wired to quickly make assumptions about a person’s threat level in order to protect us from harm. These judgments are based on a person’s looks and subconscious actions as well as the way they present themselves to the world through their clothing and grooming habits. To make a good first impression, dress in clothes that fit your body and make you feel comfortable. An outfit can have a huge impact on the way you feel about yourself, which will then affect the way others view you. Be sure your nails, hair, and skin are groomed in the way that makes you most comfortable. Your chances of making a good first impression will be much higher if you take the time to make yourself look (and feel) your best.
It’s easier to make a great first impression if you’re aware of yourself and your actions. Anxiety and doubt may cause you to stumble, either on your words or literally. To avoid any embarrassing fumbles, check in with yourself before you know you’re about to meet someone new. Take a few deep breathes, and be mindful of the present moment. You’ll have a clearer head, and you’ll likely be able to articulate your thoughts better than if you had spent the time beforehand stressing or worrying.
While there are steps we can take to try and ensure a good first impression, there’s no reason to overthink it. Ultimately, we can’t control how others perceive us, we can only put our best foot forward and present ourselves well. If you’re aware of your body language, put some effort into your appearance, and practice mindfulness, you’ll likely feel more comfortable with first impressions. It also takes some practice, so don’t be too hard on yourself. For more practical on presentation, check out our services.