When you meet someone for the first time, you’ve got a few seconds to win them over. You don’t have to go full Charm School on them but you at least need to make them feel like you aren’t going to break into their house later and steal all their shoes.
If you’re not a naturally confident person (and few people are!) I’ve got a few tips to teach you how to make an amazing first impression…
1. Figure out what kind of an impression you want to make first
So this person you’re about to meet, what do you want them to think about you? Do you want to come across as friendly and eager? Professional and elegant? Ambitious and hardworking? It’s important to always be yourself but depending on who you’re meeting you might want to give yourself a theme for the introduction. It sounds ridiculous but if you’re meeting your best mate’s other best mate for the first time, you want her to think you’re the most fun person on the planet. However if you’re meeting the head honcho of your favourite company, you want them think you’d make an excellent employee. A theme like ‘professional’ ‘fun’ ‘kind’ ‘hard working’ will keep you in the right frame mind for the meeting.
2. Concentrate on body language
Body language is something that tends to get ignored in social situations. I used to be a teacher so I’ve trained myself over the years to give good body language (kids are geniuses – they can pick a bad attitude just from the way you’re walking) but it’s something anyone can learn. Key points – stand up straight, hands out of pockets, make eye contact, don’t fold your arms or put obstacles between yourself and the person you’re talking you. Bad body language can kill a first impression so make sure you keep it at the front of your mind. It sounds super self centred but if I’m feeling a bit shy I’ll say ‘I own this room.’ to myself. There’s nothing like channelling a little bit of Don Draper to give you an extra confidence boost.
3. Make the person you’re talking to feel like the best human in the world
This is the easiest and most effective way to make someone like you – let them talk about themselves and act like it’s the most fascinating thing you’ve ever heard. I’m pretty lucky because I actually really enjoy hearing people’s life stories (seriously, I only have to get someone mildly drunk before they start telling me all their family history and secrets. I think I have safe face or something.) but even if you don’t like listening to other people, just pretend that you do. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and it’s the easiest way to get someone to like you.
4. Don’t be too cool for school
It can be tempting to go all James Dean Ice Queen on a social situation but honestly? No one like likes a snob. Just be as friendly and open as you can manage. I know it can be difficult for some people but smiling and being kind is the best currency you have in a first impression scenario so don’t hold back.
5. Wear something you feel shit hot in
I’m a bit old school when it comes dressing appropriately. Keep your bits covered (I once saw a guy at a black tie event in a t-shirt that was so low I could see his nipples. Actual man-nip. At a BLACK TIE EVENT! *clutches pearls*), wear something your comfortable in but that also makes you feel a bit spesh. If you’re uncomfortable in what you’re wearing it will only distract you.