How to make a good impression
Good first impression
This article is aimed at people trying to get a job, but will relate to most social interactions to some degree.
The sad truth is, impressions are all about looks. Some people think 'why should I bother, it's not who I really am' well unfortunately they may never know who you really are if you don't give a good first impression. Think of it as a way to give them the chance to get to know you. Our lives are too complicated and cluttered to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, it would take way too much time and there would be too many mistakes. So use your first impression to get them to actually give you a chance to show them who you really are.
I will be talking in reference to going to a job interview, but generally this may be applied to some extent to other things as well, first dates, meeting your significant other's parents, parties, whatever.
- First off, dress well, duh. When in doubt of a dress code, overdress. Wear neutral colors with nothing too flashy, particularly for men. For guys, your tie should touch your belt buckle, your socks should match your pants, your belt should match your shoes, and your collar should be tight. Clothing should not be baggy at all, fit is very important. For women, nothing too revealing, do not wear too much makeup, and though you have more options in terms of style and color, tend to be more conservative. This isn't the time to dress in a stylish and flashy way. If you get the job and their workplace allows for it, you will have other opportunities to dress in something with more personality. Until then, dress safe and appropriately. You don't know who will be judging you.
- Furthermore, body language is absolutely critical. Your handshake should be a few seconds and be firm. Do not touch them with your other hand, do not hold on too long, don't crush their fingers, but still be firm. Smile. Don't cross your arms, or your legs(if you're standing). Maintain good eye contact but don't stare too long, it's creepy. Avoid too many hand gestures, but it does help animate and emphasize your speech so it's okay to use some. Don't be a boring rock and don't fidget too much, both are signs of nervousness and discomfort.
- Don't speak too fast; particularly if it means you may stutter. Be calm and collected. You shouldn't be too comfortable or too nervous. If they ask you if you have any questions, always ask at least 1 good one. (For those who may be reading to apply this to non-interview situations, remember that other people like to talk about themselves) I really shouldn't have to say this, but don't answer your phone. If it goes off, apologize, silence it, and continue. Don't use big words just to seem smart, it will likely come off as unnatural and that you're trying too hard. Speaking slowly is not a problem if it means the words you've chosen are exactly what you want to say.
I think that covers a lot of it in a nutshell. Just keep in mind that unfortunately you will be judged in a very brief amount of time. They say it takes 7 seconds to create a first impression, so those first 7 seconds your looks and first few actions will likely mostly be judged.
This is mostly what I've learned and experienced, but I want to add in 1 more quick thought. Ultimately, you will be dealing with other humans. Job interview, date, new friend, whatever. They're all other people and they've all been in the same exact situation. These situations can make you feel really alone, but you shouldn't feel that way because everyone else has been in that spot. Don't get too stressed and don't get upset if it doesn't work out, try to maintain your confidence.