You have seven seconds to make a great first impression. Only seven seconds to put your best foot forward and to cement your status of being knowledgeable, fascinating, charming, attractive, and worthy of their time. Seven seconds. Quickly now, they’re about to acknowledge you. What do you do?
Time both simultaneous slows down and speeds up. Your mind races at a thousand miles per second. You’re suddenly not sure about the coffee you drank this morning and the clothes you decided to wear.
Your hair feels messy. Your fingers twitch. Your shoes feel uncomfortable. There are so many things you’re trying to remember that you’re sure are important to bring up in conversation, and you’re desperately hoping that you manage to at least say one clever thing so that you sound intelligent. What do you do?
Smile, and Make Eye Contact
You’ve heard it said before, many times, that your facial expression is extremely important when making a first impression. Smiling at someone encourages them to smile back at you. The person standing before you introducing themselves, wants to like you in these seven seconds. They’re hoping to get to know you better and if you smile, they will smile too. Stand up tall, don’t waste the smile on your shoes, and instead make eye contact and acknowledge that you see each other, and you are happy to make their acquaintance.
Speak Slowly and Clearly
Assume that of the two of you, the only person who is one hundred percent sure of your name is you. If you rush through your words or mumble your sentence, then you’ll spend another few awkward seconds repeating yourself. Speaking slowly and clearly gives you time to think, and to calm the raging panic you might still be feeling inside. This also makes you sound articulate and intelligent, and it gives your listener time to process what you’re saying. You might be tempted to bombard your listener with as much information as possible when you meet them for the first time, but this will only overwhelm them.
Find Common Ground
Consider your surroundings or your location. Mentally acknowledge what they are wearing or their demeanor. Find a way to form a connection, through small talk or by asking a question to open up the conversation. If it is imperative for you to make a great first impression with this person then you are hoping that they will find you interesting. So, be interested in them! When you meet someone for the first time the goal is for you to make them feel important. The pride that you feel in your accomplishments is exactly how they feel about their own accomplishments. Discuss your shared interests and any accomplishments that you genuinely admire.
Use Body Language
A firm handshake shows confidence. A genuine smile shows approachability. Body language is very important in making a great first impression. The way you sit, your posture when you stand, the angling of your body, and what you do with your hands, all provide subconscious cues to the person you’re meeting. It is important to make appropriate eye contact and to be aware of your nervous habits, as you want to appear confident and comfortable, being yourself.
A person may not remember intricate details about you well after that first meeting, but what they will remember is how you made them feel the first time that they met you. If it is a positive, comfortable, pleasant experience then this will encourage them to meet with you again so that they can get to know you better.
If you are interested in working on your social skills, or your communication goals, and would like to meet with one of our qualified, Speech Language Pathologists here at Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy, book your initial consultation appointment online, or give us a call at (647) 795 5277.