Ten tips to make a great first impression
In person –
- Shake hands firmly. But don’t squeeze or shake too hard.
- Play the name association game. Think of something in your head so you don’t forget. Look the person in the eyes and repeat their name out loud when you say, “____, it’s nice to meet you.” This serves two purposes: it subtly impresses the person you are talking to and will help with your memorization.
- Be happy. Your attitude is contagious. Let your best personality traits show. Nobody wants to spend a lot of time with someone that has a glass-half-empty attitude.
- Speak up. Talk at an octave or two higher than your usual conversation volume, especially if you are a soft talker or if you’re in a crowded room.
- Match the person’s behavior. Speak at a similar pace. Be confident, not arrogant. Be assertive, not aggressive.
- Listen. That means two things: letting the other person talk and regurgitating some of their words and phrases, confirming you are hearing what is said.
- Make eye contact. Don’t blankly stare, but don’t drift off over the person’s shoulder either. Convey with your body language that you are dedicating 100% of your attention to the person speaking.
- Show basic manners. Don’t talk while chewing. If alcohol is provided, don’t allow yourself to be over-served.Over the phone –
- Smile. It’s not an old wives’ tale. The person on the other end of the line can see it. (And I am not just talking about Skype users.)
- Warm up your voice. Avoid sounding like you just rolled out of bed. Consider singing your favorite song in the shower or on the drive to work each day. Clear your throat and take a sip of water before you dial the number.