5 tips for a positive First Impression
What kind of first impression or impact do you make?
Do people remember you, and want to connect with you?
Your level of influence is measured according to your ability to get others to listen and take some kind of action.
Do you know how to project yourself in such a way that others have a hard time looking away?
It can be awkward to introduce yourself at a networking event. Yet these face-to-face moments give you an extraordinary opportunity to grow your professional sphere, expand your knowledge, and tap into the connections that can propel your career and amplify your relationships.
Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in your likability.
When you can be authentic and confident in your introductions, you’re more likely to make a positive and lasting impression. It’s all well and good to pass out business cards, but if people don’t remember you, they probably won’t be calling you to follow up, and they certainly won’t keep you in mind for future opportunities or referrals.
Here are 5 tips designed to help you become more captivating (and dare I say more likable) at your next networking event:
- Be Relationship driven not Sales-y
From the moment you meet someone, be asking yourself: “How can I add value for this person?” You want your listener to come away from the conversation feeling good about their investment of time and energy.
What can you contribute to the discussion? What problem can you help solve? For example, is there a tip you can share that has freed up valuable time for you? Do you have a reframe that helps reduce misunderstandings or hard feelings? Share openly.
The secret is in adding value to every interaction, so that you’re not just taking up space. The more valuable your tips, the more memorably you will become.
- Ask good questions.
When it comes to the early stages of building strong relationships, questions matter more than answers.
You don’t have to be witty or spontaneous to ask great questions. You do have to listen, and be ready to find out more about the person right in front of you.
People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening, you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking good questions.
Stay away from overly safe topics, and explore topics where you can connect and learn from each other. The less generic, the better. (Sure, you can ask someone where they’re from. But questions about geography rarely makes a conversation memorable.)
- Be Genuine (or Authentic)
Being genuine and honest is essential to being likable. No one likes a fake. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them. It is difficult to like someone when you don’t know who they really are and how they really feel.
Likable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. By concentrating on what drives you and makes you happy as an individual, you become a much more interesting person than if you attempt to win people over by making choices that you think will help someone like you.
- Use positive body language
Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic.
Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the person who’s speaking are all forms of positive body language that people use to draw others in.
Take time to develop movements which are synonymous with trust. The “truth plane” is an ideal place to have your hands and to express yourself with honesty. The truth plane is the area around the middle of your abdomen, above your navel. If you keep your hands in front of that area, you appear more trustworthy.
If your hands are too high and obscure your face or throat, that could signal that you are not being honest – and yes, even if that isn’t true. If your hands move too far from your body, it could be a signal that you are getting desperate to make your case or close the sale.
If your hands are clasped in front in a downward manner, in front of your genitals, this can signal that you are feeling vulnerable or have something to hide (as if you are protecting yourself).
Pay attention to those nonverbals because positive body language can make all the difference in a conversation.
- Commit to a strong start.
When it comes to first impressions, a weak start leads to a weak impression. When walking into a networking opportunity, plan to connect with at least 2 of the most fascinating people in the room. This will have you meeting a whole host of folks while your brain searches for those meaningful moments.
The first moments of an interaction offer your window of opportunity for connection. If you earn your listener’s interest during those first seconds, people will be more likely to engage further. If you fail to add some sort of value in that golden window, they’re less likely to listen to what you say, let alone remember you.
So, avoid glancing around the room and keep your eyes on the person you are connected with. Leave your phone alone and be present. If you must break away, use a nonverbal strategy of shifting your shoulders slightly away to wrap up the conversation.
The purpose of a conversation is not to kill time, but to grow a connection.
As you stand in the registration line, or wait for the next speaker to begin, and you strike up a conversation with the person next to you, consider you might turn a random chat into a meaningful interaction?
Make those brief encounter moments matter.
You now have a few quick tips for creating positive rapport with others and increasing your likeability/memorability factor.
If you found these tips valuable and would like to learn more about how to further improve your connectivity, Faith provides pragmatic coaching and seminars designed to help you silently (and verbally) connect positively and purposefully with others.