How to Make a Great First Impression in 2021

How to Make a Great First Impression

Welcome to How to Make a Great First Impression!

You’re 10 feet away from entering the door to your first interview. Your hair was combed back perfectly, but the wind messed with it, leaving strands all over the place. Your outfit was perfectly ironed, but by walking in a hurried manner, wrinkles have appeared at any inch of the suit. All of this causes your hands to tremble as they pull the door handle. Your confident walk quickly turned into a meek gait. And most of all, your smile turns into a frown as your mind is full of over 100 negative thoughts.

With all of this, the interviewer examines you, looking up at your facial expressions, and down, looking at your negative body language. 7…6…5…4…3…2…1, and you’re done. Within seven seconds, just seven seconds, and you’re walking out of the building which could have held the biggest opportunity of your life.

You didn’t get the job because you didn’t answer the interview questions correctly- in fact, you didn’t even get a chance to be interviewed. The reason why you didn’t get the job was because of your first impression. Of course, you can’t expect a good review is your appearance, your personality, and attitude seemed negative.

As in the story, it only takes 7 seconds for someone to form an opinion of you. One doesn’t even need to have a conversation to get to know you and your personality. “According to Yale University psychology professor Marianne LaFrance, 90% of a first impression is based on appearance, posture, facial expressions, and tone of voice. ” (tesh.com) It is only within those 7 seconds that someone can decide as to whether he/she would want to be friends with or figure out if you are capable of a certain job.

While it is important to be prepared for an interview (or whatever else you are aiming for), it is equally important to make a great impression for what you are doing. So how do you exactly make a great first impression? Yes, you have to look presentable, confident, and positive. But, what exactly makes someone look presentable, confident, and positive? Remember, you only seven seconds to make someone feel like you are worthy, you are better than the average, and that you are the best of the best. 7…6…5… Time’s running out….4…3… tick-tock, 2…1 and done! So that you don’t have to ever face a similar story to the one above, read this blog on how to make a great first impression!

1. Be on time

How To make a great first impression

“Punctuality is not about being on time. It’s basically about respecting your own commitments.”

Imagine if you were supposed to be at an interview at 9 a.m. sharp, but you got delayed and reached at 9:20 a.m. The interviewer can obviously make harsh judgments about you before you even arrived, before even seven seconds have passed by. Being late shows that you are not dependable and weren’t committed to the interview. Who would hire a person like that?

By being on time, right at 9 a.m., one can tell that you have the qualities of a disciplined, committed, and moral individual. Being punctual strengthens and reveals your integrity, shows that you are dependable, builds your self-confidence, assures you’re at your best, and shows your humility and respect. (artofmanliness.com)

This is probably the most simple thing you can do to make a great first impression. Don’t make excuses on why you were late, make an effort to be there on time. Wake up earlier, get ready faster, and leave the house a couple minutes before so you can get a head-start on traffic and other obstacles!

2. Smile

how to make a great first impression

“If you want to make a good first impression, smile at people. What does it cost to smile? Nothing. What does it cost not to smile? Everything, if not smiling prevents you from enchanting people.” – Guy Kawasaki

As that quote basically explains, smiling is a major way to create a great first impression. “Forty-eight percent of all Americans feel that a smile is the most memorable feature after first meeting someone…Not only does smiling make others feel more comfortable around you, but it also decreases stress hormones that can negatively impact your health. This isn’t according to just one or two studies; smiling is highly correlated with longevity.” (businessinsider.com)

Want to get the job you’ve always dreamed of? Smile! Want to create a long-lasting friendship? Smile!

However, you don’t want to go overboard with a smile. Have a genuine smile, one that makes someone smile also, not one that is cheesy and fake, making you seem insincere, nervous, or arrogant.

3. Present yourself appropriately

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

This quote may seem irrelevant to the topic of presenting yourself appropriately, but they go hand-in-hand in this case. Your physical appearance matters in such cases like interviews because that determines what type of person you are. So, what “picture” do you want to give to that person? What is the first word you want them to think of you when they see you? By that, you can decide what type of look you want to go for- casual, formal, artistic, and more. (mindtools.com)

“Research shows that your appearance strongly influences other people’s perception of your financial success, authority, trustworthiness, intelligence, and suitability for hire or promotion.” (businessinsider.com)

“‘To achieve career advancement, avoid an unprofessional image that may enslave your career to others’ misperceptions,’ Price says. ‘Instead, choose clothing that accurately reflects your credibility and ensures you sell for what you’re worth. Make sure your exterior earns you a silent recommendation,’ she concludes.” (businessinsider.com)

4. Shake their hand

Coronavirus Pandemic May Have Killed the Handshake | National Review

“A firm, hearty handshake gives you a first good impression, and you’ll never be forgotten if you don’t live up to it.” – P.J. O’Rourke

“A Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake…Extreme? Perhaps, but he’s actually not alone in his judgment. While analyzing interactions in job interviews, management experts at the University of Iowa declared handshakes ‘more important than agreeableness, conscientiousness, or emotional stability.’ And seven other studies have shown that a handshake can improve the quality of an interaction, producing a higher degree of intimacy and trust within a matter of seconds.” (Forbes)

I don’t think there’s anything left to say… that pretty much states it all!

5. Introduce yourself

How NOT To Introduce Yourself

“If you are trying to get information across to someone, your ability to create a compelling introduction may be the most important single factor in the later success of your mission.” – John Medina

In those seven seconds that you have, you’re not just going to be standing there, doing nothing. Obviously, that would be very awkward. In order to produce a relaxed environment, you must get the conversation started! This will not only get rid of your nervousness, but also make productive use of your time!

By introducing yourself, you are making your conversation much more memorable. “Even something as basic as “great to meet you” after they greet you can break the tension, and stop you from getting off into a tangent. If you have a hard time remembering names, the intro is a great place to reinforce the name of the person you just met.” (businessinsider.com)

6. Speak clearly

Speaking Clearly - The Enneagram in Business

“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr

While you may have something very significant to say, it is worth nothing if you don’t speak clearly or with confidence. If you speak in a way that no one is able to understand you, they will not give any importance to you, which is never a good thing. By speaking clearly, you are showing confidence, and commanding respect and attention. People will listen to you and think, “Wow, this person really knows what he/she is saying.”

“Effective and clear communication is a fundamental concept of an individual’s personal and professional life.  A recent study has suggested that written and verbal communication is involved in 90% of all business transactions. One’s personal life, however, depends entirely on how effectively one communicates.” (mywestford.com)

7. Make eye contact

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“I have a big thing with eye contact, because I think as soon as you make eye contact with someone, you see them, and they become valued and worthy. ” – Mary Lambert

Imagine if you were talking to someone but they were looking at the clock to the left of you. Obviously, you would feel hurt and unworthy. However, on the other hand, if someone was maintaining eye contact with you, you would feel as if you are getting the respect and attention you deserve.

Maintaining eye contact with another conveys that you are confident and interested in what they have to say. You are showing respect to the person that you are talking to, and you are also showing that you are interested in what they have to say.

“Like with most things, it’s a good idea to not overdo it; if you don’t take breaks now and again, your eye contact could be viewed as staring, which has negative connotations. (businessinsider.com)

8. Fix your body language

The Importance of Body Language in Business Communication ...

“Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words.” – Deborah Bull

Think about how infectious a yawn is in a group of people. A smile between friends is contagious, too. In fact, there’s a neuron that affects the part of the brain responsible for recognizing faces and reading facial expressions. This neuron causes the ‘mirroring’ reaction. So when another person sees you smiling, the neuron fires and causes them to smile in response. Mirroring goes both ways; if you pick up on and reflect back the non-verbal cues of the person you’re speaking with, it sends a non-verbal message that you feel what they feel.” (businessinsider)

All you have to do is show that you are confident and respectful. Stand tall, smile, maintain eye contact, and do more of the things listed in this blog!

9. Shift the focus from yourself to others and be attentive

Active Listening Skills, Examples and Exercises

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

“Taking the focus off of yourself and putting it on someone else can help others perceive you in a better light. For example, making someone feel appreciated, finding a point of commonality to bond over or sharing something interesting you’ve learned can all improve how you’re received, Demarais says.”

Don’t make a conversation all about yourself, give other people a chance to talk and say something. As said in the paragraph above, it will make them feel appreciated and respected, which is always a nice feeling.

10. Be yourself

Why'Be Yourself' is the Best Advice That Few Entrepreneurs ...

“Don’t try to become something fake to impress others. Be genuine, even in small, insignificant ways.” -Ilchi Lee

“Yes, making a good first impression does mean you need to “fit in” to some degree. But it doesn’t mean losing yourself or pretending to be someone you’re not. The best way to create a good impression is by being your authentic self. Doing this will make you feel more confident, help you to build trust, and earn the respect and integrity from the people you meet.” (mindtools.com)

The Takeaway:

While you only have seven seconds, you can do these ten things to make a great first impression:

  1. Be on time
  2. Smile
  3. Present yourself appropriately
  4. Shake their hand
  5. Introduce yourself
  6. Speak clearly
  7. Make eye contact
  8. Fix your body language
  9. Shift the focus from yourself to others and be attentive
  10. Be yourself!

With these ten tips, hopefully, you never have to experience a story similar to the one in the beginning! First impressions are not just for interviews, they are for making new connections, finalizing deals, and more! Check out this website to learn about the importance of a first impression! And for more help, watch this video on 12 things that ruin a first impression immediately! I hope these ten tips will help you create more relationships, achieve your dreams, and get the dream job you deserve!

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Will Rogers

Next Steps

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Disclaimer: We are not experts or certified financial advisers. Our advice for you based on what has worked and continues to work for us. If financial problems occur we are not responsible for them and advise that you speak to a professional. That being said, we believe wholeheartedly that the advice we give to you will help your financial situation greatly.

1 Comment

  1. Alan Tseng

    Same with asking people out:)

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