It affects our communication and the success of delivering our message, as people listen to people they trust and they feel positively about.
It is in our nature to communicate with people around us, and to do that fairly well. After all, it is what made our species survive all this millenniums
Some people do this naturally well, while some simply miss some small details.
Here is your chance to check on those details, and make sure that you have them all covered.
What makes the first encounter pleasant?
People are naturally inclined to like people who are like them – so, underline those similarities instead of highlighting how special you are.
Next to that, people feel comfortable in a conversation that conveys openness and acceptance and feeling that we are not judgmental towards person – even if we disagree on the opinion, we can still communicate verbally and non-verbally acceptance of the person ☺
Elements of a great first impression
What first impression is really about is being relaxed, spontaneous and yourself, and just make things happen naturally
So, even if you have some of these things in mind, please, make sure that they are genuine, and use this just as a tiny reminder or a check-list – not to fake it, but to allow it to develop naturally
• Be aware of your body language and posture – make sure that it communicates openness, relaxation and interest, as well as confidence
• Make it feel personal – focus your attention to the other person , using eye contact, listening to what they say…. Be present in the moment, and spark honest interest in the person and what they are saying
• Be interested, not interesting – allow your natural curiosity to rise and use it to focus the attention to other person and to open your mind
• Be original (authentic) – don’t try to show some perfect image of yourself, but just let authentic you come across – don’t be afraid to allow people see our sensitive or weak sides and be ready to show them your human, sincere side
• In every conversation, try to follow a guideline of Reciprocity – in a pleasant conversation, it is really important to give something, and receive something, to ask for information as much as sharing our own opinions, and have balance between talking and listening. Share your vision of the world, but also to ask for other person’s vision
• And lets face it, sex appeal does help as well ☺ – if person find you attractive (and even more if (s)he feels attractive to you), it will help open the door to that person’s views and it will be easier to build a connection.
• Remember, successful interaction is really about how you make the other person feel!
Four social gifts
So what is that that we can give to a person in our encounter, or that we can get from them?
As Ann Demarais and Valerie White in their book “First Impression” say, what we can give to other person in our encounter is one of four social gifts:
1. Transferring new information, ideas, perspectives
2. Improve state of the soul – laugh, humor, being fun
3. Connection – feeling alike and connected to another human being – “I like that movie as well!”
4. Appreciation – accepting them, provide respect, admiration or approval – “You did that really well!”
During conversation, it might be worth of asking yourself “What am I giving in this interaction?” and “How am I contributing to this persons day/life/happiness/etc?”…. and then grow that into “What else can I give?”
Assessment of your own skills and road to improvement
Simple ways to asses how well we are doing when it comes down to leaving the first impression, it is enough to pay attention to two things:
• Be aware your body language and pace of talking
• Notice reaction of the other side
After noticing what we could be doing better, we can build a pathway towards improvement by:
• Make a list – put down strong sides and weak sides
• Ask your friends for an opinion (take their feedback as a gift!)
• Decide what to change – one thing at a time
• Observe reactions
Traps to avoid
Make sure to avoid those traps, that often end up being rapport-breakers:
• Offering information about ourselves, that I would like to learn about others – remember that people are different and they have very different interests
• Starting conversation with whatever is on my mind at the moment, without thinking of importance or interest of the other person in that topic
• Trying to present characteristics that makes me unique and distinct myself from the other person
• Searching to talk about my financial or social success
If there would be only one most crucial component of the first impression that you are planning to walk away with, it would really be to develop genuine interest in the other person – to open the door of our curiosity, and make person feel listened, important, accepted, and interesting. That is the real key to leaving positive first impression!
And remember wise words from Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
In case you would like to research this topic further, check out this blog article rich in valuable information: http://lifehacker.com/5857432/how-to-make-and-sustain-a-good-first-impression-every-time
Or pick up a book “First impression” by Ann Demarais and Valerie White – definitely a book to recommend!