Maybe you’re meeting your new boss or partner’s parents for the first time. Whoever it is, you need to know how to make a good first impression.
I usually make good first impressions. Just recently, I was introduced to my boyfriend’s family and let me tell you—it was a complete fail. I hardly spoke, I was sweaty, I was uncomfortable to even go to the bathroom. Trust me, I really had to pee. But the point is, I completely bombed. Even to the point where they didn’t even remember my name. Can I blame them? Well, I did, but I shouldn’t have. I needed my own advice on how to make a good first impression.
Usually, I can meet parents and have them fall in love with me the minute I smile, but this was different. I really like my boyfriend and I wanted them to like me, so this pressure made it worse. Thus, the reason why I froze up. [Read: How to be noticed and loved by everyone]
How to make a good first impression
You may be a professional at encounters like the one I had. I know how badly you want to change that. Regardless of who you’re being introduced to, you want to make a good first impression. Well, it takes some time and always a lot of practice.
Eventually, you’ll be able to introduce yourself to anyone without freezing up. So, here are some helpful and much-needed tips for you to follow so that you can make a first impression that lasts—in a good way, that is. Leave your sweaty palms at the door.
#1 Just breathe. I know you’re freaking out inside. Trust me, I did the same. But freaking out and having an anxiety attack doesn’t win brownie points with your first introduction.
Instead, before walking into a room, take a deep breath, give your arms a little shake, and walk into the room with your head high. Your first impression isn’t really as bad as you think it is. [Read: The 20 life hacks you need to be more confident]
#2 Don’t focus on yourself. I know this is usually the first thing we do when placed in a social setting. We automatically think about what we can do to make ourselves more comfortable, but that’s wrong. Instead, think about how you make the other people in the room feel comfortable.
By shifting the attitude you have, you remove the anxious thoughts focused on yourself. In addition, people relax because you relax. [Read: 25 ways to make anyone like you]
#3 Most of us are shy. At the end of the day, most people are shy when meeting new people. So, don’t worry, you’re actually not the only one who feels this way. According to research on shyness in 2007, 58% of people identified themselves as shy. The odds of meeting someone also shy is highly likely.
#4 Let out a smile. First of all, smiling helps you alleviate stress and anxiety, so for that reason alone, give it a try. But secondly, smiling shows people a person is trustworthy. Within the first 34 milliseconds of looking at someone’s face, people determine if you’re trustworthy.
#5 Be on time. I know this seems silly but people pay attention to these things. Regardless of who you meet, show up on time. It shows respect and makes a good impression without doing anything.
#6 Small talk matters. If you meet new people for the first time, you’re probably not going to dish out your most personal information to them. This is where small talk plays an important and crucial role in connecting with others. Find out more about this person, ask them questions and see what you have in common. This keeps the conversation flowing. [Read: How to make small talk without feeling awkward]
#7 Give yourself a heads up. Before you go somewhere new, get enough information about the surroundings. If possible, find out who’s going to be there, the dress code, and any special rules such as bringing a gift, etc. This eases your anxiety as you can prepare yourself ahead of time. You won’t feel like anything is spontaneous as you’ll already know how things will work.
#8 Have an introduction prepared. No, this doesn’t mean you write it down on a cue card nor does this mean you need a paragraph memorized. A simple sentence that introduces who you are in a short and sweet manner is perfect. For example, “Hi, I’m Natasha, I’m Erik’s friend. Nice to meet you.” Bam. From there, they introduce themselves and the conversation starts.
#9 Wear something that makes you feel great. If you feel confident in how you look, you come across as more approachable to others. In these moments, you want to feel confident about yourself. So, wear something that makes you feel comfortable because it shows when being introduced to new people. [Read: 35 tips to make people like you and charm absolutely anyone]
#10 Don’t drone on about your job. We have this tendency that when someone asks us about our jobs we give them a plain response because, let’s be honest, most of us dislike what we do. Instead, tell people your job and describe the benefit of it.
Be humorous if you want, for example, “I’m a writer at LovePanky, and I help people to not make the same dating mistake as I did.” Now, you opened up the door for people to ask you about your job, etc. [Read: How to be an interesting conversationalist]
#11 Ask questions. This is really important, so I’m going to emphasize this even more. A conversation is like a tango dance. You need two people, and it has to be a give and take movement. So, if you blab on and on about your job, well, it’s just you in the conversation. Make sure you ask questions and keep them engaged.
#12 Give the person you talk to all your attention. If you want to know how to make a good first impression, you need to remember that people who make good first impressions are people who are actually engaged in the conversation you have. If you check your phone while talking or zoning out, they’ll notice. When having a conversation, give it your full attention. [Read: Do you love talking and hate listening?]
#13 Be nice. Listen, you’re not really in the position to be the group bitch right now. To make a good first impression, you have to be nice. Even if someone is annoying, smile and go find another group of people to join. But never ignore someone because that will backfire.