Make First Impressions Count In 2022

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It takes just a glance, maybe five seconds, to be assessed by someone you just met. Call it judgmental, but in that short span of time, the other person may form an opinion simply on the basis of your appearance, body language, and mannerisms.

I'm a marketer with a client-facing job. How I present myself in external meetings is paramount because when I meet a client, I not only represent myself but also my company, my manager, my team, and everyone else who works with me on a daily basis.

Simply being polite, empathetic, and a good listener can go a long way. As Maya Angelou says, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." 

Now that people are stepping out and socializing again, it's time to pull out those social graces that you've been putting on hold since March 2020. Whether you're meeting a client for the first time ever or catching up with long-separated family members, it's natural to feel a little conscious about what to say or do. Here are eight tips to try to improve your first impression skills. 

1Smile

It's the biggest ice-breaker and can start any meeting on the right footing, whether it's a first date or a drink with your best friend of 20 years.

2Maintain Eye Contact

Look straight at the other person when you're conversing. Let them see that you're fully engaged and present in the conversation. 

3Be Cheerful and Courteous

Nobody likes to be around a Debbie Downer. Bring a cheerful, positive attitude to the meeting and always be courteous. If you're at a workplace, greet everyone or at least smile. If you're having a discussion with your manager or client, bring that positive attitude to the forefront.

Dining out with a friend or a couple of teammates? People notice and appreciate simple gestures: Let them look at the menu first, pour their waters before your own if there’s a jug on the table, or even offer to pay the bill. Resort to humor whenever possible.

4Have a Firm Handshake

While handshaking has become a bit of a social faux paux during the pandemic when we’re preventing the spread of germs, if both parties show a level of comfort, a handshake is a traditionally good way to introduce yourself. A handshake should clasp the hand firmly and go up and down about twice in confident motions, without jerking or gripping too tight. Be the first to offer a hand — it's one rule I always abide by.

5Be a Good Listener

Take a keen interest in the other person's life and story. Be an active listener by encouraging them to continue sharing through leading remarks such as “And how did that feel?” and display through the body language that you're paying attention, such as nodding at intervals. If they ask you for advice or an opinion, make sure you're both kind and sincere in your choice of words.

6Make an Effort to Look Presentable

Not only does dressing up give you a chance to wear those fancy pieces that have been gathering dust in your closet these two years, but dressing well can help give you added confidence and show the other person you made an effort for them.

This holds true even if you're meeting someone you've known for years. Take the time out to pick a nice outfit and do your hair — you'll feel so much more excited yourself, and that will inevitably reflect in your body language.

7Indulge in Small Talk

This has helped me eliminate awkward silences in many conversations as an introvert. There's something to fill up every gap, from books and movies to weather changes or even politics. You can even talk about COVID-19, although bear in mind that many of the people you meet might not be keen to think about the pandemic and just enjoy themselves instead.

8Be Your Funny Self

Particularly when discussing something complex or serious, a touch of humor can help to defuse the situation and keep the conversation going. It goes without saying — make sure your jokes are tasteful and not offensive to anyone present.

The Bottom Line

All in all, creating an excellent first impression is about being present, paying attention to the other person, and being your authentic self. Trust me — these tips have definitely helped me be more socially confident. At the end of the day, remind yourself that the most important thing is to have a great time! 

Tags: Career, Women in Business, employment

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Written By

Asavari Sharma

B2B content marketer. Always thankful. Writes about everything that inspires her, straight from the heart. See Full Bio

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