6 Tips to Make a Killer First Impression
Published on: 2017-03-15 07:06:39
We are all familiar with the proverb that the first impression is the lasting impression and you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. This adage still remains true in today’s modern world.
Think about what you notice in a person the first time you meet them – what they are wearing, cleanliness, their manners, facial expressions, body language, even sincerity - it all registers instantly, and once that impression has been made, it can be almost impossible to change it.
We’ve come up with six helpful tips that will help you to make that killer first impression, be it at an interview or a networking event. Keep these tips in mind before your next meeting with someone new.
- Be On Time
We all know this is essential, however many still show up late for interviews or events. For an interview, not showing up on the scheduled time immediately puts the potential employer on alert and shows that you’re not responsible or dependable.
If the interviewer shows up late, you’re already in good stead because of the fact you were there on time. The interviewer will sincerely apologise, and now you have a slight upper hand in how the interview will go.
For networking events, don’t worry about being the first one to show up. Even if you are, you now get the second, third and fourth guests’ undivided attention and that could potentially yield huge benefits.
- Outline An Intention
Having a goal while meeting new people can also boost that first impression. Take a moment before you attend an event to think about what exactly you want to project and whom you’d like to meet. "The most important thing to do for giving a good impression is to set your intention," suggests Vanessa Van Petten, CEO of Science of People, Forbes. "As you get ready, or when you are driving over think about what kind of people you want to meet and what kind of interactions you want to have. This can be an incredibly grounding experience and works very well to focus on what kind of energy you want to have for your event."
The concept of dressing up for an interview or an event has changed over years. For a job interview, while you should always appear neat, tidy and well-dressed, the definition of well-dressed can completely depend on what job you’re applying for.
A good rule of thumb is to look at the company website you’re applying for. How are the leaders of the company dressed for their profile pictures? If they’re in full professional attire, wear professional attire. Match business-casual with business-casual. And if they’re dressed creative casual, do the same, but elevate it a bit, as you’re still the interviewee and want to show respect for the position through your attire.
Regardless of the dress code, also think to add an element of personality. The interviewer wants to see the real you, even in professional attire, so recognise your personality, whether it’s a bracelet, necklace or pair of shoes, showing them a small part of your true self can even become a talking point.
- Maintain a Proper Body Language
It’s normal to be nervous at an interview or a networking event, especially if you haven’t been to a lot of interviews or networking events. However, it is very important for you to keep your body language open, friendly and inviting in conversation. Remember, even if you are feeling nervous inside, you can easily mask it through proper body language.
By proper body language we mean the body language that keeps the people you are meeting engaged with you. A good technique to maintain that is to mimic the body language of the person you are talking to. If they’re smiling and look relaxed, do the same. If they tend to lean forward in conversation, mirroring them can make you look more engaged. If they are using hand movements while talking, don’t sit your hands in your lap or firmly at your side.
- Pay Attention
This one goes hand-in-hand with body language. You need to show that you’re interested and actively engaged. Make sure to keep eye contact; do not let your eyes wander around the room. Mentally, don’t get distracted by tangents. At both an interview and a networking event, you are there for a specific reason. Keep the conversation focused on the task at hand or the knowledge you wish to share or gain.
- Be Prepared for the Conversation
For interviews, do research about the company itself; learn about your job responsibilities thoroughly. Then write out a list of possible questions that you’ll be asked or likely to hear during the interview, such as ‘what are your long-term goals? Where do you see yourself in five years? And why do you think you are the top candidate for the job?
Make sure you practice conversation for both interviews and networking events. Ask your friends or family members to help you out with the practice and role play. If they’re not available, you can practice your conversation in front of the mirror – don’t feel shy, you’re the only one who can see you. The more you practice conversation, the more comfortable you’ll feel when the actual interview or event comes.
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