It takes someone 33-100 milliseconds to form an opinion and impression of who you are. Sadly, in those few micro-moments, regardless of reality-most people will decide who you are and then use that judgment as a filter for relating to you.
If their opinion is not good-that sadly is not likely to change. With that being said, if you have a feeling that people are getting the wrong impression of you-it may be time to take action for making better impressions moving forward. While that might sound like quite the task, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem. If your goal is to make a great first impression, here are some expert tips on how to accomplish that.
1. Presentation is everything.
You do not have to be a supermodel to make a good impression, but it is a good idea to practice good hygiene and to dress based on the occasion. For example, if you show up in sweatpants and a tee-shirt filled with holes to a job interview, it’s not likely you are going to leave the right impression. If you have any doubt about how to present yourself, do some research on the event you are attending.
2. Be on time.
If you are late, you are making an impression without even giving yourself a chance. The thing is, if you are late, you are sending a few different messages: other people’s time is not important to you, and you are irresponsible. Yes, people make mistakes, but try your best to be on time to give yourself a fair chance.
3. Be authentic.
Don’t try to be someone you are not. No, you don’t want to put everything out there – but stick to what you know and don’t appear as fake. If you try to pretend to be someone else, they are going to pick up on that.
When you smile at others, it makes them immediately feel at ease and more comfortable around you. Think about it- have you ever met someone when you were having a bad day, and when they smiled at you-it made you feel happier, even if it was just momentarily? And the thing is- if you can make them feel good in your presence, you are going to leave a lasting impact on them. (For the good.)
5. Find common ground.
It’s much easier to connect with others if you can find common ground. If they are wearing something that you recognize, you can use that, or you can start with your shared environment. Bring up the weather or even a major news story that is happening currently. Once you have connected with common ground, things are much easier from there.
6. Be empathetic.
Stay attuned to the emotional state of the other person. By showing empathy, you can build a strong connection with them.
7. Pay attention & don’t just talk about yourself.
Don’t appear disinterested or distracted. Stay present, put your phone away and make eye contact. Don’t tune out of the conversation, and don’t interrupt. It can be easy to get anxious and begin blurting things out, but try to avoid that at all costs. Also, don’t just talk about yourself-ask them about themselves and genuinely pay attention and actively listen.