The Second chance to create a first impression
If you are in for a big leap in life, you are in the right place!! Life often gives you just one chance, and at times, a killer first impression is all you need to win the situation, whether in your personal or professional life.
Let me guide you into a proven technique to create that first impression.
Hold on to your seat belts,
because there is some Awe-My-God-some top notch advice coming your way!!!
Did I tweak your interest a little bit in that last sentence?
Did I JUST create a first impression?
See, here’s the deal – first impressions are important! There are millions of articles from thousands of writers on the internet. Why would you then, spend your precious 20 minutes reading mine? Do I have something to offer – Sure, yes. But there are so many more out there doing this job. What’s my USP to have you, my reader pinned to me?? I need to create a strong first impression!!!
From personal relationships to professional success, from facing an interview board when you are an intern to closing a top notch multi-million dollar deal when you are at the peak of your career, the importance of creating a first impression cannot be over emphasized. Anyone who is successful in any field will agree with me.
There are many candidates for the same job, probably with the same qualifications as you. Why then should your employer choose you? There are many men wooing a beautiful girl, what’s your USP? Well there has to be real substance to last till the end of that competition, but first impressions can give you a good bit of a push.
More often than not, our first impression creates a lasting effect in our minds. I am sure many of you would remember the First time you ever saw your spouse or girlfriend. Wasn’t it like you just connected?
Well, let’s face it, we are biased! With our vast bank of past experiences and intelligence we subconsciously judge the other person before we even know it. What is more surprising though is that we try to make sense of that judgement withholding the initial verdict about that person for as long as we can unless he or she does something really drastic to change that.
But wait a second – there are not only experiences at play here. There are some very basic emotions too, which is why even babies and kids are influenced by first impressions. Think about it. When you meet certain people, a feeling in the back of your mind tell you that you could be comfortable with them, talk to them freely.
If you want to be such a person, follow these simple basic tips.
Yes, I know it’s a cliché thing to say – it’s so obvious.
No, I am not reinventing the wheel here. I am telling you a bit more than that.
One – a false smile is much worse than no smile. If you think you cannot look at the eyes of the other person and extend a genuine-happy-smile, go for a slight nod and right and downward tilt of the head. If that comes with a smile and a handshake, it’s simply great. A true smile is one which causes a twitch at the edge of your eyes. One which does not reach your eyes, will not make the other person happy.
Let me illustrate. Look at the pictures here:
You would probably like the picture of the old lady over the beautiful smiling girl.
Look at their eyes now, the eyes give it away. The lovely young lady’s eyes give you a sense of sadness while those of the elderly woman are glittering in happiness. To know more on smiles, visit this great page created by Nicolas Fradet on fake smiles.
Two – This one is useful mostly on personal levels. Don’t do this to impress your boss. A smile which starts slow on your lips and then extends all the way creates a lasting impression. All the while it is important not to lose eye contact. Do this and you will have impressed the woman you want to be with or that dream guy!!!
It’s not about you
Yes, the impression you are trying to create is about you, and you will never create it by talking about yourself. Imagine if I were telling you the story of my life here, instead of telling you what (I hope) you want to hear, you would have left me at the first paragraph.
People are genuinely interested in people who are genuinely interested in them. Realize it when you meet someone next. It goes for personal as well as professional relationships. If a person is conceited and always talking about himself, soon enough he will find himself alone in the room talking to the walls (apparently they are the only ones really interested to hear that).
Ask random questions like – “where are you from? …. Oh, how is it out there – I am sure it’s great”….etc etc. Think about it, make it spontaneous. Of course you cannot chat if you are going for an interview. But then be interested in the question you have been asked and the things you are being told. Often interviewers appreciate candidates who have a short query at the end, but that has to be gauged at the spot. No thumb rule to that. We will get to how to ‘Know the room’. Just remember don’t over do it.
Talk but talk sense.
Here’s the thing about talking. No matter how well you dress or how good you look, the moment you open your mouth impressions change. It goes either ways. You can look like a gorilla and still have people fall in love with you left right and center, believe me, with words.
That’s the second chance you get to create a first impression.
If you are a sensible talker people would be genuinely interested in listening to you and trust you.
Now here’s the thing – it’s just awesome if you can make people laugh or smile with your words. That’s something which kicks you up to the top of the ladder immediately. Again, as I said – this works both for personal and professional fronts. But an ill-timed humor can backfire too. So be cool, time yourself and don’t rehearse it, be spontaneous. There’s nothing more awkward than a joke which fell flat on the ground.
If you think you are not a talker, and still have to talk, please avoid jokes. Stay back, lay low. If possible start a conversation letting the other person speak while you listen with interest, trying to ask relevant questions.
Well, talking about the other person as much as you want would work in a personal front, but if you are in a professional place, after a certain point of time make sure you wrap up the personal chit chat and come to business. This has to be done in a time where the other person has completed talking and is not interested to talk anymore. You will get the sense if you listen for it. Such a transition creates a good first impression and tells the other person that you also have ‘real stuff’ you are confident about.
Before you go for that meeting, there’s a bit of a preparation needed. This is not a big deal, just five minutes will do. Sit in a chair, close your eyes, imagine yourself in the situation, be calm and composed, and imagine yourself giving an excellent speech or a presentation, people laughing with you, applauding you. See your confident self, up there; see yourself walking out field with joy and contentment. Try to be cool and more importantly, try to be happy, feel the happiness with your eyes closed. Then tell yourself that you are absolutely ready for it!! Do this and see how this changes you.
If you are confident you will be spontaneous. And no one is more attractive than a person who is calm, confident and spontaneous.
Know your stuff but also know your room
Last but not the least. Credibility, especially as a professional, is very important. There is no short cut to that. No matter how good your first impression is, that’s not the only thing required in the long run. Eventually people will find out if you have substance or lack it. Know your stuff.
That said, also know your room. Try not to show off your knowledge or achievements more than required. Let people find that out by themselves, let people ask you for that. If you have something really big to show off under your sleeve, more often than not, it’s better to let it stay hidden till it is required to be shown. That way you create several subsequent impressions.
You are all set now!!
With the above things in your mind, you can walk into any place and make people remember you forever.
It’s a great thing to be able to create a lasting first impression.
Master it and you will WIN every time.
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