The Art of a Fantastic First Impression

{By Lindsay Chilton}

You are being judged.

This is an unpleasant truth that many of us nowadays reject and instead say, “You don’t judge me, I don’t judge you”. You can repeat this mantra as many times as you want but it’s still pointless and erroneous. As long as you know that people are consciously or subconsciously judging you, how can you make a decent first impression? Whether trying to impress a potential future employer, making new friends, being introduced to an attractive stranger, or life in general, first impressions are crucial.

how to make a good first impression

First, eye contact, eye contact, eye contact.

Making eye contact with a person conveys a sense of confidence and respect, and lets the other person know that your undivided attention is on them and what they’re saying. This doesn’t mean stare them down like you’re challenging a dog but make sure that you’re making eye contact with them whenever they speak.

Second, small talk is always fine.

I’ve heard that small talk is considered “shallow, boring, and a waste of time” and I’m here to tell you it’s not. Ask about their family, what school they attended, what movies they’ve recently enjoyed, and other seemingly simple questions. Small talk is a launching pad for deeper, lengthier conversations and the other person will appreciate that you’re interested in their life and their thoughts. It’s ok to start small.

Third, be conscious of what you’re saying and speak only when appropriate.

When I’m nervous I say stupid things that I later usually regret. To avoid this cringe-inducing situation I make sure to consciously think of what I’m going to say. And try to focus on what the other person is saying, not just what you’re going to say next. My mother always used to warn me to filter what I say and never to spout out every thought that I was thinking all of the time and it is definitely good advice.

Fourth, never try to be witty.

Unless you have the wit of Oscar Wilde, don’t even attempt to be witty at an interview or when you have to make a first impression. It almost never goes well and you are so caught up in trying to come off as clever or funny that you’ll most likely miss what the other person is saying.

Finally, be yourself.

This is a clichéd saying but it really is true. Being yourself doesn’t necessarily mean wearing your favorite David Bowie t-shirt and ranting about how awful the remake of “Footloose” was (after you’ve become closer friends you can always share these quirks with them, just at a later time), but it does mean being comfortable with who you are and not trying to be someone who you think the other person would like. You would not be presenting yourself accurately and the other person would not get a sense of who you actually are.

Be the best version of yourself: poised, confident, and smiling. Definitely smile.

What do you think? How do you make a good first impression? Comment below!