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5 First Impression Skills Everyone Needs to Know

5 First Impression Skills You Should Know

Whether you are being interviewed, going on a first date, or just want to be the most memorable person at an upcoming event, a first impression matters. Learn how to make a good one with these simple skills.

There are some things in life that we only get to do once. Making a first impression is one of those. Getting it right could mean scoring the job, Mr. Right, or a brand new bestie.

Research shows that it only takes us a fraction of a second to make an impression. Not only are first impressions usually accurate, they are also hard to shake. Even when presented with facts, our initial feeling about someone tends to stick.

Of course, the best way to let someone in on the real you is to be yourself. But sometimes nerves, a bad day, or simply being out of our element leads us to behave differently. It can be fairly easy to get yourself good impression-worthy even on your worst days. You just have to know a few tricks.

5 Tricks to Making a Great First Impression

1 A Simple Look Wins // A first meeting is not the time to break out a new look. Going with the tried and true will make you feel comfortable and allow you to think about the conversation, not get distracted by potential wardrobe or hair malfunctions. A simple, classic, well-groomed look is universally appealing. And by all means, avoid the most common makeup disasters.

2 Set Goals and Do Your Research // Are you looking to meet people? Do some networking? Get a date? Get the job? Going in with an end goal in mind provides a mission to keep you moving forward. Knowing a few facts about the event/company/guy/group… will make you feel more comfortable and helps to keep jitters at bay.

3 Use People Science // We’ve heard before that body language, facial expressions, and eye contact matter where first impressions are concerned. Those who keep fidgeting to a minimum, smile, and make appropriate eye contact are viewed as more capable and approachable. You know how some people have just got It? You may be interested to learn that what you weren’t born with can be faked. Vanessa Van Edwards, an expert on body language and how it influences people, says charisma is “the perfect blend of warmth and confidence” and suggests ways to up yours in this podcast on Lewis Howes.com.

4 Ask and Listen // People’s receptivity actually goes up when asked about themselves. So inquire away, then (and this is important!) wait for the answers. Interrupting and monopolizing the convo are big no-nos in making a great first impression. Balance is key here. While oversharing should be avoided, there is a sweet spot between too much info and not enough. The other person is trying to get to know you, after all. Be succinct when answering questions and try not to ramble on. Awkward silence is, well, awkward. But nervous babble is worse and means the important stuff gets lost in the muck.

5 Adjust Your ‘Tude // It probably goes without saying that negative remarks and bashing others is not good behavior. A genuinely positive attitude and courteous demeanor will get you lots further. Be sure to thank your interviewer for their consideration and tell new acquaintances that it was nice to meet them. That tiny extra bit makes people feel good and ends things on a pleasant note.

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