6 Ways to Make a Great First Impression

The saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression” is used often because it is very true. When meeting someone for the first time, how you act and what you say has a considerable effect on the other person’s view of who you are. It can set the tone for the rest of the conversation. If you want to make a good impression in that job interview or date, in addition to being genuine and honest, there are ways to strengthen the impact you have. Here are a few tips that may help.

#1 Eye Contact

One of the best ways to keep another person’s interest is to show interest in them and what they have to say. Although we may truly be engrossed in what they have to say, expressing that interest to them can be just as important. A method for this is eye contact. This seems easy enough, but can be more difficult for some. Your attention is focused on them, and not on anything else, and they do not have to question your attention. If you are looking everything but the other person, it looks like you are interested in anything except the person. Eye contact asserts confidence to the other person, opposed to looking at the floor, which can come across as insecurity.

#2 Firm Handshake

The handshake is common practice in business, simple, yet effective when used wisely. It is very simple, do not squeeze too hard, you do not want to inflict pain. Do not use a limp hand, unless you are expecting them to kiss it. You want to use a strong grip that gets their attention from the start. That’s it.

#3 Use the other person’s name

Have you ever met someone for the first time, and realized halfway through the conversation you cannot remember their name? You then know you have to go through the embarrassing task of acknowledging you do not know the name of the person you have been talking to for the past half hour. One trick to avoid this is to say their name back to them immediately after they say it the first time. After that, throw it into the conversation when possible. Not only are you more likely to remember it, saying it to them will keep their focus on you, because you are acknowledging them throughout the conversation.

#4 Smile

A smile can have profound effects on a person. A smile is inviting, warm, and can ease the tension of a first meeting. It is not necessary to consistently keep a smile on your face the entire conversation, but when used appropriately, displays your openness to the other person. In addition, it can relieve the other person’s apprehension, making the conversation more pleasurable. A face devoid of emotion or with an unwavering frown expresses indifference, disagreement, or disinterest.

#5 Speak in Confidence

This tip is in regard to tone, volume, and what you say. Speaking in a voice that is inaudible or mumbled can be frustrating to others, especially when they need to constantly ask you to repeat yourself. You can also come off as insecure and unsure of yourself, which is never attractive. Speak in a volume and tone that is solid, articulate and assertive, but not aggressive. It is easiest to use this style of speaking when you are sure of yourself and what you want to say. This does not come from talking for the sake of talking, or talking to impress someone. You are talking because there is something you need to say that is relevant to the conversation or situation, not just filling empty space with words.

#6 Hold your Head High

Next time you are walking in a public area, look at the people around you, and keep your eyes out for people looking at the ground as they walk. What impression do you get of them? Keeping your head down communicates shyness and/or lack of confidence. This is not how you want to present yourself to a date or prospective employer. Walking with your head up, and eyes forward looking ahead is another easy method to demonstrate your confidence. This basic move states you are looking forward, and you know where you are going.

Making a good impression is not about trying to impress someone. The most important part of meeting someone new, as with any other social situation is you must be yourself. Do not feign interest, or use false emotion to gain the other person’s interest. Being genuine is a step in creating a real connection. These tips should be used to exhibit your confidence interest, and your focus on the other person. The confidence they sense in that first impression will turn a good impression into a great one. The expression of interest relieves nerves, and can create an enjoyable experience for both participants.

Author's Bio: 

Adam is a human resources professional who has an extensive education in oral communication, diversity, and team/leadership development from the University of Southern California.

In his recruiting experience, has managed the hiring process for a variety of positions in the IT, media, graphic design and hospitality industries. Adam's background also includes training and development in which he has facilitated new hire orientations and trained different levels of staff in hospitality standards and safety. Adam has also acted as a consultant for non-profit organizations to help improve company wide communication processes. Visit his weblog at www.coachadamyoung.com.