We all know that first impressions are important in both a professional and personal setting. The first time you meet a person could be your one shot to impress them. First dates, first interviews, first time meeting the VP of your team’s division – these can all be stressful first meetings. Plus – it can be really intimidating to put yourself out there. However, it doesn’t have to cause more stress than necessary. Follow these 4 tips and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting first impression, for all the right reasons:
1. Dress to Impress
This may seem obvious, but sometimes people do not take the necessary time to make themselves look nice. We all want to think it’s what’s on the inside that matters, but if you don’t make yourself presentable, you might not get the chance to share what’s on the inside.
Avoid wrinkly clothing, it appears sloppy and unprofessional. Purchase an inexpensive steamer here and say goodbye to wrinkles forever. Another fashion faux pas that fails to impress; flashy clothing. In fact, my boss actually interviewed someone who wore a crop top to the interview- (spoiler alert, she didn’t get the job). Lastly, try to avoid overly potent perfume or cologne, you don’t want to overwhelm the person you are meeting.
By showing up to an interview or first date with your hair brushed and a polished outfit, you’re ensuring that the focus is on your personality or skillset, not how you look.
2. A nice, firm (but not hulk-worthy) handshake
When you first meet someone, a handshake is the most appropriate greeting. A strong handshake shows initiative and confidence. Just don’t squeeze too hard, an overly audacious grip might send them running.
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This is one tip that I’m still currently working on mastering for myself as I’ve been told I can come off too serious. It’s not because I’m an unhappy person or that I don’t smile regularly, I just unintentionally put my game face on when meeting someone because in my head, I’m ready to go. Remembering to smile allows you to seem approachable and lightens the mood. Plus, according to studies (check out The Atlantics Study: Forcing a Smile Genuinely Decreases Stress), even forcing a smile can help to decrease your stress.
4. Prepare yourself ahead of time
Before a first meeting, allow yourself time to prepare. If it’s an interview that has you worried, brainstorm or research some questions they might ask you. If you can find a friend, roommate, or family member to role play with you, even better! Another helpful way to prepare yourself is to have a couple of your accomplishments readily available to discuss with factual information showing how you impacted your team and/or company. By preparing yourself for what potentially lies ahead, you will feel less stressed and be more likely to make a great first impression.
How do you prepare to make a lasting impression? Do you have any tips that we missed?