3 Secrets to Making Good First Impressions

February 23, 2018

It is true, there are a lot of myths surrounding first impressions. Some people give excellent first impressions, but terrible second, third, fourth impressions… But the opposite can also happen: you meet someone and immediately assume they’re untrustworthy. You feel like you definitely won’t get along with them, and then you realize that you were very much mistaken.

First impression are particularly significant in professional situations or when socializing. In these cases it’s impossible for them to really know you at first, so first impressions will set the tone. We’ve all had moments where we’ve felt the need to make good first impressions. After all, it can open doors and break down obstacles.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”

-Oscar Wilde-

According to psychologist John Bargh of Yale, we form our first impressions of someone within two tenths of a second. It originates in the limbic system. First impressions are reflected in the willingness or interest we then show to build a connection with someone. If first impressions are good, we’ll be more open, and vice versa.

In professional or public relations situations, it tends to be more calculated. You don’t behave the same in front of a boss as in your living room at home. And it has nothing to do with hypocrisy but rather a reasonable assessment that there are certain expectations you have to live up to. Now, if you want to give good first impressions, here are 3 tips.

Naturalness: the number one secret for good first impressions

Acting naturally does not mean being shameless or rude. A work interview or an academic presentation is definitely not the same as going out partying with your friends or staying in bed watching TV. If you go too far with spontaneity, you might appear rude or full of yourself.

A woman in the woods.

Being natural means giving off an image in line with the person you really are. That is, if you are an untidy person, don’t try to project the image of a tidy person. What you can do is try to control this aspect of yourself if you think it may be detrimental in the context. For first impressions, highlight your strengths and limit your weaknesses. But you have to be aware of them first.

Go ahead and put on some makeup, but not so much that someone thinks you’re a different person or won’t recognize you when you take it off. Think of naturalness like your sense of smell: people detect it instantly.

Trustworthiness

It will be difficult for someone to trust you if you’re not honest. If you want to give good first impressions, but turn to lies or fakeness, you’ll undermine yourself. At the same time, be stressed about keeping up with the lie.

A man with a glittery face: first impressions.

Trust yourself, trust others and trust life. It’s better to say you don’t have the authority to talk about a certain subject because you don’t know enough than to make a spectacle of yourself trying to get the other person to believe what you’re making up.

It’s better to admit you feel a bit nervous than to pretend to be falsely confident yet obviously tense. You don’t have to force anything. Trust that no matter how the situation ends up, it’s the best outcome for you if you were honest.

Direct communication

Be specific with the messages you want to express. If you’re asked a question, answer the person clearly and don’t get sidetracked into other subjects. Try not to go on tangents or ramble. Think about how conversations leave a better first impressions when the exchange between speakers is dynamic.

It is important to be communicative. Don’t assume that your ideas have been understood or think that being terse is the same as being to the point. Someone who doesn’t take their turn to speak projects insecurity and that is not what you want.

Hands touching.

The point is, when you begin a new relationship, make it as simple as possible. This new connection is a blank slate. An opportunity to start off writing clearly and beautifully. Relationships built on the foundation of simplicity tend to go better.

Good first impressions help foster good attitudes on both sides. So from this perspective, a little makeup is ok, but do so intelligently, and don’t stop being you.