Making a good first impression is an everyday life skill we all need to have tucked away in our back pocket.
First impressions tend to be the ones that last. With little more than a quick glance, people will have you pretty much summed up and shoved in category before you’ve uttered a word – rightly or wrongly.
Opinions will be formed based on your appearance, how you’re dressed, how you smell, the body language you use, mannerisms you have, the way you speak and your general demeanour – do you slouch, are your shoulders back, chin up, etc.
Every new meeting brings with it a new evaluation as yet another person forms an impression about who you are. You can’t avoid it, so you may as well learn how to make it count.
No matter whether it’s at work, school, college or in a sports club or bar, these CANDo tips will help you polish things up so you can be sure you’re creating the right first impression:
Get Courage and CANDo Out of Bed
First off, get those inner imps Courage and CANDo out of bed and explain to them loud and clear – shout if you have to – that it’s time for them to strut their stuff. You’ll also be on to a winner if you can have a sharp word with Fear and Doubt at the same time. You really need to keep this damaging-duo from sabotaging your confidence.
Be on Time
Being late speaks volumes about who you are on the inside. It tells the person you’re meeting that you value their time, that you’re reliable and trustworthy. Make the effort to arrive a few minutes early if possible and always allow extra time for traffic delays.
Make Sure your Appearance is Appropriate
…and we’re not talking beauty here.
Your appearance will provide the other person with visual clues as to who you are and you’ll be assessed on it and categorised instantaneously.
If those inner imps Laziness and Temptation have led you into bad habits as far as cleanliness is concerned by tempting you not to iron that shirt or clean under your nails, whip them into shape sharpish. Be sure you are clean, and that your clothes are neat and appropriate for the setting. Are your hands and nails cared for, are your hair or clothes stereotypical in a way that may say something about you you’d rather not have splashed across the front of a tabloid newspaper (you never know!)? A picture really is worth a thousand so make sure any visual aids you’re giving the person you meet say the right things about you.
Make Eye Contact and Smile
This is body language that says you’re pleased to be meeting this person. You value any potential association with them and their mere existence is important to you.
Introduce Yourself and Ask Their Name
People like to know who they’re speaking to and if you can use someone’s name pretty early on in your encounter, it will help develop a deeper connection between you.
Really listen to what the other person is saying. It demonstrates good manners and shows polite behaviour – it will also help you with the next point.
Make a Little Small Talk
Ask questions about what they’ve just spoken about, their interests, current projects, hobbies, whatever is appropriate for the setting. It’s surprising how little you can get away with saying to create a good impression. People just lurvvve to talk about themselves so if you can keep coming up with the right prompts they’ll keep going and end up thinking you’re a great conversationalist, even though they’ve done most of the talking!
Keep it Positive
Let your imp Positive Thinking run free.
Be positive and you’ll project a positive attitude. If you can keep things upbeat and smile, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favour. If someone asks “how’s it going?” they really don’t want to know that you’re feeling under the weather, the cat puked up on the carpet or that last night your seven year old son thought your wife’s tampons would make great ammunition for his gun – well, that last one might actually be quite funny in the right situation: your call! If it’s not positive, try to keep it to yourself until you meet someone close to you that you know you can confidently blurt it all out to.
Remember, you’ve only got a few seconds so it’s worthwhile making sure they count. Tune your life skills in creating the right first impression and you’ll be more likely to make a good impact first time, every time.
For more ideas on everyday life skills that will improve your life, be sure to sign up for our free CANDo Get-Up and Go-Go Newsletter.