Making a good first impression is often discussed in business. It can either make or break your next opportunity. We are given a few seconds to shine and after that, our first impression can stay with a new person for the entirety of our relationship with them. Scary stuff.
Like most things in business (and life) preparation is key and who better to teach us than emotional intelligence experts, Harvey Deutschendorf, there are 5 essential things you need to do when you first meet someone AND he boldly claims that if they are done correctly they can positively solidify a new relationship.
Conversations that fizzle quicker than they started, were usually preceeded by a series of closed questions answered “yes” and “no”. Be mindful of your phrasing – “Do you like football?” will get you far less conversation time than “How do you feel about Chelsea’s recent game?’. Open-ended questions, usually start with how, what and why.
It’s obviously so much easier to connect with someone when you both have similar interests. Finding your commonalities does take some cognitive effort. The best advice is to be authentic, don’t pretend to be into something you’re not. Equally keep it simple, just talking about favourite local restaurants can get the conversation flowing.
Make it meaningful and not about their physical appearance. The only way to make it meaningful is to ask questions about them. The more they start to reveal about their life the more things you ca genuinely compliment them on.
Making someone feel good about themselves should be the goal of any interaction. People may not remember the conversation but they will remember how you made them feel.
Your energy needs to be high, especially when you first meet someone because you can risk coming off as distance, snobbish or just rude. Even if you feel anxious or tired the best advice is to fake it until you make it. Keep your body language open and smile, it’s that easy.
How many times have you forgotten someones name? It happens to all of us, no matter how hard you try you just can’t remember and come up with risky schemes to get them to drop their name in the conversation.
Distance yourself from this and commit their name to memory instantly. Everybody loves the sound of their own name and it also makes interactions more personal, so sprinkle their name whenever you can, throughout the conversation.
You do the same with key facts you’ve learned about someone. If you can repeat something you’ve learned about someone within a few minutes, it personalises the conversation and shows your interest in them
Leila is PCA’s Head Editor and Researcher. She holds a 1st class Law with Business degree and became a published author at 25. Former crime investigator turned business journalist. On a mission to show businesses that presenteeism is a thing of the past. Everything seems impossible until it’s done. Typically found working from a white beach in South-East Asia embracing rapidly changing technology.