You know what they say … you never get a second chance at a first impression. Humans in nature make snap judgments about people, objects, and circumstances, in order to make sense of our environment. This has helped our ancestors determine whether something was friendly or hostile for the purpose of surviving. Even though we’re no longer in such constant danger, our minds are still making decisions at rapid speeds. And while we never want to act fake, we do want to show up as our best selves in the world. We’ve put together a few ways that you can make a stellar impressions, right from the start:
Flashing a smile is a universally friendly sign. It transcends cultures and time, and just so happens to be one of the most important steps in making new friends. When in doubt, always smile when you are meeting someone new. And don’t forget to smile with your eyes too. It also helps if your teeth are looking bright and clean. Fortunately, Oxyfresh toothpaste and mouthrinse have been clinically shown to be fantastic at reducing plaque.
2. Eye contact
When people don’t look us in the eyes, it automatically makes us distrust them. Making eye contact shows that you are ready and willing to engage in the world of human beings. Not feeling confident enough to make much eye contact? Just follow Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice: “Do the thing and you will have the power to do the thing.” The more you take a step out and make eye contact, the more comfortable you become and the more confident you feel. So start practicing!
3. Use the person’s name
Our name is the sweetest sound to our ear. It is special to us. When you use the other person’s name throughout the conversation, it makes us feel valued and known – like you aren’t just being kind, you are being kind to me. Plus, repeating their name casually throughout the conversation will help you remember it next time you see the person – and if remember their name, you earn major points. It shows that you value this person enough to log their name into your memory. And that is how you make a great second impression.
4. Check your breath
Bad breath can be a quick way to leave an unpleasant first impression. It’s not enjoyable to smell in the moment, and the person questions whether you are even aware of the problem. The best solution: be proactive about your breath. Use a tongue scraper and make sure you are using an alcohol-free mouthwash that is proven to work.
5. Focus on the other person
Remember this: every human being has an invisible sign hanging around their neck that reads, “Make me feel important.” One of the most effective ways to leave a great impression is to focus the conversation on the other person. Ask them questions (and be genuinely interested) instead of taking about yourself the whole time. Ask about family, work, passions, hobbies, vacations, goals, etc. Each of these has many rabbit trails and streams you can venture down. The more the person gets to talk about themselves – and the more they feel you care about what they have to say – the more they will like you. For a more detailed explanation of how and why this works so well, read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friend and Influence People.”
6. Find things you have in common
Humans are homophiles. In other words, we like people who are similar to us. If you can find common ground – such as mutual hobbies, opinions, or backgrounds – the other person is more likely to identify you as part of “their tribe.” This is another useful practice that can be found in Dale Carnegie’s classic book.
These are universal principles that can be used in any situation – whether formal or casual. So keep these six tips in mind and go out into the world, unafraid of new connections. You are sure to make a delightful first impression.
Ask yourself: which of these could I benefit from the most?