What comprises a first impression? It is what a person thinks of you the first time you meet. It is how they evaluate you at first glance. People judge you within a few minutes or maybe seconds of seeing you – therefore it is very crucial that the first impression is a good one. This is because, even if they learn different things about you later, they will still go by their first opinion about you.
What do we unconsciously look for when we make these first-encounter decisions about people? Research and experience have indicated that we try and gauge if the person is trustworthy – this is the critical factor that people look for.
Create the correct impression
Then we try to see if he/she is competent and proficient. All this analyzing happens literally in the twinkling of an eye. That is why it is very important (and also very stressful for any people) that we create the correct impression at the first encounter itself.
So what do we need to do to create a favourable first impression?
Do not hog the conversation
To begin with, do not hog the conversation. Let the other person speak and give him/her the feeling that you are interested in what is being said. This will create a sense of warmth and acceptance in the speaker.
Not only words, even non-verbal communication carries a lot of weight. Your body language, facial expressions, hand movements, tone and volume of voice, where you are looking – all these play a part in giving people an idea of you as a person. So let that idea be a good one.
Switch off your mobile
In today’s world of instant communication, people are always on their mobile phones. It is rude to be answering your mobile or texting or doing anything else when you are meeting someone for the first time. Switch off your mobile or put it on silent mode and concentrate on the meeting. Phone-activity can be done later, but the first meeting can never be redone.
A little bit of general, social chit-chat always helps the conversation along and creates an easy environment to carry on the meeting.
Wrong things at the wrong time
Listen to what is being said and participate in the conversation in a relevant, intelligent manner. Many people are so busy thinking what they will say next that they forget to listen and so say the wrong things at the wrong time. This will definitely not create a good impression. Do not interrupt when the other person is talking. Let them have their say. Do not try to complete their sentences or jump in with your opinion whether you agree or disagree. Give them the respect of listening and when they finish, then say what you want to say, in a polite way.
If you know who you are meeting, do a little bit of research and figure out what they do, what job they are in – professional matters – so that you are prepared for the meeting. It shows your interest and involvement and creates a good impression.
So whatever you do, wherever you go, see that you make a good first impression. It will carry you far in the long run.