In life when faced with important situations for the first time, we all want to make a great first impression.
What are some suggestions that will increase the possibilities that will happen?
Let’s turn our attention to a professional who has attained success at coaching people.
His name is Joshua Uebergang, aka “Tower of Power”
20 Ways to Make a Good First Impression
You’re already an impressive person. But in this article I’ll show the ways to make a good first impression on a guy, girl, parent – whoever. The imprint you learn to leave on people gets them to fossilize the memory.
Whether you’re the girl at the bar yelling to her friends “Oh my I have to pee SO BAD!” or the guy whose voice cracks over his first words, it’s hard to erase a first impression from someone’s brain. As said in Big Talk, where there’s a whole chapter on ways to make a good first impression, “A first impression isn’t a last impression; it’s an influential impression.”
A good impression at first sight is what I call “the lazy man’s way to make people like you”. Princeton University research shows our snap judgments remain consistent over time. If someone judges you as “attractive”, “friendly”, and “open” within 100 milliseconds, they’re likely to think you’re all that by the end of the conversation. The study found one thing changes as the conversation continues: a person’s confidence in the accuracy of their first impression.
Call it bias or unfairness. I call it human psychology. Work with it if you want to be seen as awesome. Learn how to impress people at first sight. Here are 40 ways to make a great first impression.
- Know the importance of body language. Before you open your mouth, people judge a lot about you by the way you walk, hold yourself, and move. These types of nonverbal communication are detected before you mutter a word. It’s a myth nonverbal communication gives 93% of all communication, but body language must be statistically high as part of a first impression.
Knowing the value of body language and unspoken social dynamics in a good first impression encourages you to focus on it. You’ll be more concerned with smiling, speaking louder and clearer, and appearing calm, which will impress others more than a great conversation starter.
- Open your body language. Open body language invites and impresses while closed body language shows ignorance and insolence. Here’s a snippet of a table from the Big Talk course explaining the difference between the two types of body language:
Imagine two people. You’re one of them. The weirdo has all the traits of closed body language while you or me – each an amazingly cool person – has all the traits of open body language. You get the vibe the other person is a creep while we’re charming.
- Social proof yourself. Social proof is a principle of social psychology that says we look to others during obscure social situations to determine how we should behave. There are hundreds of unknown people in public social events so we observe how people treat each other to measure how we should treat someone.
If you see everyone looking towards a guy, you’ll look towards him to calculate what’s going on. If a guy seated alone for an hour approaches you for conversation, you’ll dislike him before he opens his mouth. You’ll look for information to validate why he is alone and unpopular.
If every time someone spots you laughing with a group of new people, you’ve made a better first impression than anything else possible.
Everyone knows you can manipulate your words and tell a verbal lie, but we believe what we see. Social proof is a great way to make a good first impression. Make friends before you enter a venue. Be seen chatting with the bouncer or waiter or a group of friends you just met. If someone spots you every time laughing with a group of new people, you’ve made a better first impression than anything else possible with cool body language or witty first words.
- Put yourself at ease. Did you know if you’re tense talking with someone, the mirror neurons in another person’s brain forces them to become tense? Their body literally duplicates your tension. The strain or message that relates to it, like you’re an uptight angry jerk, is then stored in the person’s hippocampus, the memory center of the brain. Not a good way to make friends.
If you’re like most Top readers, your body is tense right now. Heck, even I just realized I’m tense writing about tension! To see your tension and remove it, relax your forehead. Loosen your jaw. Let your face droop downwards as the tension dissipates. You can tighten a muscle for three seconds then release it to enter relaxation. Do this throughout your body whenever you think of it. Tension is unconscious, but relaxation conscious.
- Get into shape. Light travels faster than sound, so your physical appearance is noticed before your voice or introductory comment is heard. Looks aren’t everything, but they’re important and quickly noticed.
Get your physical game together whatever that maybe. Exercise to stay in shape. Drop that greasy packet of chips in the bin. Everyone notices a guy with biceps bulging out of his sleeves or a woman with a curvaceous figure. We’re impressed by people with good physiques.
- Dress stylish within the decade. I understand if your bright green neon stilettos appear “timeless” to you. However, nobody else does. When in doubt, wear black or gray. These colors are timeless and even if a dress or tie was purchased 10 years ago, it’ll come across as stylish because it’s not a shocking, bright, or ridiculous color.
Dress nice and stylish, but comfortable. You want to look your best, yet many times we tend to think dressing sharp, stylish, and sexy is more important than being comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable and constantly tugging or pulling at your shirt or dress, you’ll feel distracted and probably self-conscious. Don’t compromise comfort for style. Feel good in what you wear.
This is no fashion school, yet I must say one last thing on this topic. Not only is it important to dress for comfort, it’s important to dress for your body type as well. Ladies, don’t squeeze into a revealing, slinky dress because you hear it’s the latest style, even though your chest is popping out and you can see your underwear lines through it. Men, don’t wear a fitted Slipknot t-shirt if your gut sticks out beneath it. You need tip number five if that’s the case!
The difference between a good impression and bad one may just be how you interpret it.
- Think positive before going in. Imagine the positive mark you’ll make on people instead of visualizing how that attractive lady will laugh at you when you approach her asking, “Did the sun come up or did you just smile at me?” (I wouldn’t blame you if you’re thinking negatively using that pick-up line). See the interaction going incredibly awesome. Believe the person you’re about to talk to is friendly. You’ll go in looking a happier, more impressionable person.
If you’re a pessimist so you never get disappointed, read my review of Mind-Lines, a great book on reframing to think in healthy ways. The difference between a good impression and bad one may just be how you interpret it.
- Get into a positive state. Make people’s mirror neurons work for your benefit. Put yourself into a positive state so a person’s brain makes them emotionally high in your presence.
I believe it’s unhealthy to always seek happiness and “positive emotions” because you block yourself from authenticity and a full experience of life, but there are lessons in Big Talk you can follow to boost your mood and impress people:
- Firstly, know that energy is a choice. You can make yourself feel good at will.
- You may get in a good mood by psyching yourself up or down. Figure out what works for you.
- Talk with anyone or anything. If you feel great and can have a smooth conversation with your cat, I like your odds at impressing people in a conversation.
- Take a practice dive socializing. Dive in and allow yourself to belly flop. E-motion is energy in emotion. Action is necessary to feel alive.
- Be present. The distinguishing factor between anxious, lonely persons and those with charisma is their energetic focus. Loners are drawn into themselves. They think about past mistakes or anticipate how others may respond. I use to think of me freezing in past conversations or about what others would think if I said something. Yeah, it’s messy.
People know when you’re not fully in the moment and are repulsed by it. Children hate when a parent pretends to listen when all they do is hear.
Just before you approach someone or at any time during a conversation, focus on the now. The best way I’ve found to do this is by taking deep and slow belly-breathes for 30 seconds. You can also observe a person’s body language. These techniques will make you more present and people will be impressed.
- Impress the right person. Would you leave your hand print on a rock or in clay? Some people are easier to impress than others while some are worth impressing more than others.
If you have a hard-time impressing people, pick low-hanging fruit. Talk to the person alone or listen to the person looking sad. The social proof and emotional momentum will help you impress those higher up the tree. It’s a sneaky way to make a good first impression.
- Approach people from a 45-degree angle. It’s alarming to have someone approach you head on. In the caves thousands of years ago we’d kill anything aggressively nearing us. Having said that, don’t sneak up on someone like they’re your best friend. It’s not cute. In the caves thousands of years ago we’d kill anything that tried to surprise us from behind (okay, maybe your ancestors didn’t give you my schizophrenic genes, but you get the point.)
What’s the right way to walk up to people? Approach from a 45-degree angle. You can keep your geometry set in your school bag. Just use the principle as a reminder that we’re comfortable being approached by strangers at a visible indirect angle.
- Make eye contact. The eyes give your interactions emotional meaning. If you look at any object or person as if you had ADHD, you’ll appear anxious or disinterested. Certainly you’ve heard this a million times, but giving someone a good look in the eyes right as you meet them shows you’re interested in them. Your pupils dilate and they instinctively catch on, causing automatic attraction.
- Cast an illuminating smile. A cold turkey smile switches on in an instant. An illuminating smile turns on gradually. Make eye contact with someone then go from a blank face to a full warm smile in two seconds. Read my article “How to Be Interesting Without Saying a Word” for more help with this technique and a couple of extra tricks to impress people through your body language.
- Don’t stare and smile like a hungry wolf. Or a hungry vampire. Eye contact is one thing, looking like someone staring at their bait is another.
Temporarily break eye contact by shifting your eyes downwards for two seconds. It’s a sign of friendliness and safety probably experienced by cave men who killed beasts that glared in their eyes (again, that’s probably my schizophrenic genes). Sharing your eye contact with the floor makes you safe and likable in the eyes of those you chat with giving them a good impression of you.
- Remember your acquaintances name and use it. A “nice to meet you, Sarah” or “Me too Bob, I totally get that” shows you’re interested in speaking to them and are having more than just an empty conversation. If you have the memory of a goldfish, check out a post of mine for social skills resources to help remember names.
- Shake hands well. There’s more to a handshake than a firm one. Lean forward at the hips to show interest. Ensure your hand and theirs go web-to-web. Yes, grip firmly. A strong, firm handshake shows confidence in anyone. Same for you, ladies. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you have to stick out your fingers like a delicate tulip. My last tip for a good handshake is to give two up-and-down shakes. Do these and you may just impress people with your hand skills.
- Speak with a resonant voice. I’ve mentioned body language for a good impression, but the voice is another part of nonverbal communication that can impress people. A squelching voice will leave your listeners with plugs in their ears while a soothing, clear voice will have people hang on to your every word.
There’s diverse problems in vocalism from talking too loud, fast, soft, raspy, high, indecisively, breathy, and the list goes on. To cure all these problems and improve your voice, I recommend you learn from Carol Fleming, creator of The Sound of Your Voice audio program, and her new book It’s the Way You Say It. Her book is the best resource I’ve come across to improve your voice and nonverbal communication.
- Make the conversation about others. We think we need to impress others by drawing attention to ourselves. The opposite is true. I once saw a man wearing a shirt that said, “Oh yea, that reminds me of something that allows me to talk about myself.” For many people, this couldn’t be more true. The last person you want to be is the one who starts telling a story about themselves as soon as they hear someone mention a related topic. You make friends easily when the conversation is on their passions, their problems, their perceptions.
- Show interest in what they have to say. If someone talks about the awesome day they had or the recent achievement they accomplished at work, it’s worth the recognition and respect that comes along with you intently listening. Did he land a new job? Shut up about your 10 million dollar deal and be happy for him. Lean forward, ask questions, have your mouth slightly open, and be in awe.
- Talk about yourself. Yeah, that will impress people when done right. You see, fans of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People are so adamant on making the conversation about others and being interested in people. This makes a good impression on people – without it, you’re sure to be the person everyone wishes would be gagged for silence. However, if you really want to impress a guy or girl and make them into a friend, you need to talk about yourself.
We feel close to those we understand. Without that understanding of someone’s identity, we have our shields up. If someone talks about their hot air balloon experience, ask them questions, listen to them gas, then share how you’ve never done it before and would love to do it. They may just invite you to fly away some day after you impress them.
This is part one. There is so much information on this subject during the month of February 2016, we will present part two.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.
Joshua Uebergang, aka “Tower of Power”, teaches social skills to help shy guys build friends and influence people. Visit his blog and sign-up free to get communication techniques, relationship-boosting strategies, and life-building tips by email, along with blog updates, and more! Go now to http://www.towerofpower.com.au/free/