Thursday, January 26, 2017

Five Simple Things to Help You Make a Good First Impression

There is that saying that goes "you never get a second chance to make a good first impression". First impressions are important irrespective of the environment, as they are sometimes cemented in the memory of others and hard to change even with the best of efforts. Some people find that they struggle to make the best first impression. If that's you, here are five simple ways you can fix it:

Image result for first impressions
The way you dress: You've probably heard the saying you will be addressed based on how you are dressed. But I bet you haven't heard that the way you are dressed can cause you to be completely ignored. I learned very quickly when I started to speak in public forums that people tend to listen to you more if you are properly dressed. Now, properly dressed does not mean you have to put on the most expensive items you can buy or adorn yourself with so much jewelry, people are blinded as you emerge. To be properly dressed means to be simple, yet suave and elegant. Make sure your clothes are clean, well-ironed and even your shoes are nice and shiny. 

The way you smell: Many people don't understand the impact their odour has on the first impression they are trying to create. I have been in rooms where someone walked in and everyone literally wanted to run out. Bad odours are easily detectable, so don't think it's just you who can smell your sweaty odour mixed with the suffocating smell of damp clothes. Shave your armpits - yes, even guy have to do this. Invest in a good antiperspirant/deodorant. You don't need to buy expensive perfumes; there are body sprays that do the job just fine. Just don't go overboard. Take care of your mouth odour too! You don't want people stylishly turning their heads from you because they are scared they might die from the odour you release at the mention of every word.

The way you feel: Now, on a first meeting, handshakes are inevitable. For example at a job interview, you can't exactly hug the interview panel; you have to shake their hands. Ladies, this one is for you - leave the feeble limp handshakes at home! Your fingers will not break if you shake hands firmly! A handshake can tell a lot about you and how confident you feel about being where you are. Make sure your handshakes are firm and look straight into the eyes of the other person.  And don't forget to use a moisturizer. It adds an extra feel to your firmness.

The way you sound: A friend of mine used to answer phone calls like life was being snuffed out of her. I quickly told her she'd lose opportunities when potential employers call because they would not be impressed by the tone she used. Some people pick up the phone and immediately start speaking through their noses. Others answer the phone with a confrontational tone that will make you wonder. The way you sound is very important! Even in face-to-face meetings, people will judge you based on how you sound. Keep your voice at a steady tone. Speak calmly, not too loud, and drop the fake twang that switches your accent from British to Indian all in five minutes. 

The image you portray:If there is one thing I have seen a lot of at these 'first impression' meetings, it is the sad conditioning people place themselves under in a bid to project an image they believe will be more acceptable to the people they are meeting. There is nothing worse than trying to be who you are not - even if it means portraying yourself lower than you are, or portraying yourself beyond what you are. Whichever way it goes, you are playing yourself. Stop portraying the wrong image and be secure in who you really are. That way, the opportunities you really need will be identified by those you are meeting and you will be steered in the right direction. People are admired not for who they are perceived to be, but for the confidence they have in who they are. 

Make a lasting first impression on the right people, and watch as they scamper around to do what you need from them. XOXO

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