Whether it is for a big job interview or an important first date there may be nothing more important that making a strong first impression. And while there is certainly something to be said for consistency and longevity when it comes to your follow-up interactions, the way you present yourself within the first seven seconds will have a bearing on the way you are perceived for the next seven weeks. Try to keep the following three rules in mind next time you are trying to make a great first impression.
Appearance is everything
Don’t worry if you often find yourself tripping over your own words when trying to make a first impression, since much of the work can be done without opening your mouth at all. Paying attention to your clothing, personal hygiene, smile, and posture will speak volumes about your character in an instant. And while clean-cut and straightforward is always a good way to go, it might also be worth thinking about what kind of image you want to put forward. Are you a bowtie person or someone who leaves their top button undone?
Make the first move
Even it just means being the first to offer a handshake or finding an opportunity to crack the first joke, everyone always appreciates a good icebreaker. By taking the initiative and making the first move you will not only put everyone around you at ease, but you’ll impress them with your confidence. At the end of the day, it matters less how you act, than the fact that you acted at all.
Taking the initiative within the first few minutes of an introduction is a great strategy, but at the same time nobody likes an attention hog. After setting the stage for a great interaction, the best thing you can do to make a good impression is show your ability to listen. This means making eye contact, responding with thoughtful comments, but also not looking at your phone. Ultimately, finding the right balance between assertiveness and passivity is a great goal.