I do a lot of public speaking and book signings, so it’s almost a second nature to me when meeting new people. Within the first few seconds of meeting someone, an opinion is immediately formed that can last forever. This encounter often bespeaks the tone for the relationship that follows. So how can you make your first impression a positive one?
Whether you’re meeting for business or pleasure, here are some tips I’ve stuck to over the years to help you knock your first meeting out of the park:
Take pride in your presence
Physical appearance is the first thing people observe before an introduction. Always dress appropriately for the occasion, whether it’s a casual lunch or a formal business meeting. A go-to suggestion is to maintain a clean and crisp appearance for most events because you can’t go wrong – think business casual. This look can be trendy and professional and will position you in a positive light. Being mindful of your appearance will give you more confidence to help make a great first impression.
Share your best smile
A warm, genuine smile is your best tool in making a first impression unforgettable. “A self-assured and convincing smile starts with regular oral care practices to keep your teeth clean and your breath smelling fresh,” says Dr. Christopher Ramsey, DMD. An easy way to do this is by adding a mouthwash, like Crest Pro-Health Advanced Mouthwash with Extra Deep Clean to your daily routine. “These advanced mouthwash formulas strengthen teeth, kill germs and freshen breath, so you are guaranteed to have and maintain an impressive smile,” says Dr. Todd Snyder, DDS, AAACD.
Showcase your positive attitude
For people who get nervous when interacting with others, it is essential to sustain a calm attitude and optimistic outlook. Go into the meeting with an open mind and learn something new. Contribute to the conversation and maintain engagement. Showing attentiveness is often contagious, as the person you meet catches on and reciprocates.
Be conscious of your body language
Body language is a crucial element in daily human interaction. From the way you walk to a meeting, to the hand gestures used while you speak – body language is just as important as the words you say. Start by standing tall, making appropriate eye contact and giving a firm handshake. Demonstrate open body postures by keeping your head up and relaxing your shoulders. Crossed arms and legs make you appear closed off and unapproachable, so be mindful of how you might appear to others. Sometimes I won’t even approach someone with crossed arms and a soar facial expression, I wait for their move first.
Being true to yourself is the best way to be presentable to others. Be comfortable with your personality. If nervousness kicks in, take a few deep breaths and remember to be calm and confident. A composed demeanor will put anyone at ease, sealing the deal on an excellent relationship as you move forward.
Making an everlasting first impression is simply about being at peace with who you are and being ready to meet others. Try some of these above tips at your next meeting, networking event, job interview, or even a simple social gathering.