two women sitting in an interview

How To Make a Strong and Lasting Impression

Written by Kalysta Law |August 10, 2020

Business colleagues handshake

While a rocky beginning does not dismiss the possibility of a great connection, there is no argument that a great first impression can get you very far. In every new encounter, it takes merely seconds for someone to form an initial opinion about the new people around them. A positive impression is based on a combination of your appearance, your attitude, and the way you carry yourself.

These first few seconds of meeting someone play a very important role in setting up a direction for your relationship in the future. Learn how to make to make a powerful first impression. First impressions are almost always remembered, and are nearly impossible to erase, so be sure to keep these tips in mind when you want to stand out and establish a strong and lasting impression.

1. Know Your Occasion

Whether or not it is conscious effort, we are always observing others and also being observed. To make a good first impression, you first have to know where you want that to happen. No matter the occasion, being on time is a universal tip. Punctuality is always valued in a first impression of someone, as it is the very first thing someone will notice about you. Your occasion will very likely determine how you dress and how you behave—a night out with new friends and a job interview will require very different outfits and manners. If you are interviewing at a law firm, it may be expected that you show up in formal attire and behave accordingly, however, if you are meeting up with old friends, a good joke and casual conversation would be appreciated. Dressing and presenting appropriately not only shows that you respect and value the other party, it also shows that you paid attention to details and came prepared.

2. Pay Attention to Body Language

No matter what setting you are in, friendliness is always detected and appreciated. The easiest and most direct way to communicate that is through body language. Give a firm handshake, polite smile, and maintain eye contact while speaking to someone will automatically make you appear more approachable. It is fairly straight forward on paper, however, a lot of the times we are not aware of our own habits that could come across as hostile. Take the time to notice the little things you might do out of habit, small changed can make a big difference!

3. Stay Positive

Positivity is contagious! Smiling can get you through the initial greeting and small talk, but let people get to know you better by giving them positive energy. We all go through tough times, but make sure not to be constantly complaining or talking behind someone’e back, as negativity can be spread just as easily. In professional settings especially, speaking illy about your former coworkers or boss never leads to career success. Criticism and failure are sometimes unwelcome yet important guests in a conversation, as it can easily make people uncomfortable. Learning to handle negative feedback with a positive response is challenging, but remember, only when we stand up stronger after falling.

4. Be Genuinely Interested

Notice what makes a conversation enjoyable, a lot of times listening is all it takes. Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn instead of focusing on yourself. In a TedTalk about conversations, the speaker mentioned that there is no special trick to show that you are paying attention. “People remember how you make them feel,” for the other person to feel heard, you simply should be listening instead of trying to seem attentive. Listen intently and ask questions, be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. Not only will that make the person feel respected, it will help them form a strong first impression of you.

5. Be Authentic and Courteous

“Be yourself” is a tip that every “how to make a powerful impressions” post will mention. Although it has been mentioned countless times, this is arguably the most important tip of all. After putting in effort trying to be more charismatic, if you come across as inauthentic, nothing else will matter. As important an impression can be, letting your personal statement shine through will allow the person to truly get to know you. Have confidence that you can be authentic and always be yourself.

Two women sitting on a table for an interview

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