6 Secrets to Creating a Powerful First Impression

First Impressions

Whether you like it or not you are judged by the first impression you make on others. From the moment you first meet someone you have about sixty seconds to make a good impression. This article will show you six secrets to creating a powerful first impression.

Regardless of whether it’s fair or whether it’s correct, it’s a true fact that the first impression is how we judge each other. There is an old saying that goes, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” After that you’re done. Your chance is over. If you make a bad first impression then you are constantly working on damage control. You will always be remembered for that first impression, good or bad. Therefore it’s extremely important that you learn how to make a powerful and positive first impression.

Think for a moment about the different people you have met in your life. Wasn’t it something about your first meeting with them that drew you to them? Isn’t it true that those people who have made the most powerful impact on your life are the ones that presented a powerful and positive first impression? What was it about that meeting that had such an impact on you? If you think about it you will realize that there are certain things these people did that impressed you. They knew the secrets of making a powerful first impression. No you will know the secrets too.

Secret Number 1: Take the Lead

What this means is to be outgoing. Don’t wait for the other person to step forward and greet you. You take the initiative. You be the one to step forward, shake hands, greet the other person and initiate the conversation. By doing this you are taking control of the situation and you are establishing a first impression as a leader; a person who is not fearful, timid or shy. You can’t help but be impressed when someone comes up to you, shakes your hand, introduces himself and initiates a conversation. Your goal is to be that person.

Secret Number 2: Smile

Okay, this is going to seem obvious yet it’s amazing how many people don’t do this. It is to SMILE!

Think about when another person greets you. Think about the difference in how you feel about the other person when they greet you with a cheerful smile or when they greet you coolly with a scowl on their face. What a difference between the two types of greetings.

It’s just common sense that we like to be greeted with a smile. It makes us feel more comfortable. It makes us like the other person more. We feel non-threatened. We feel accepted. We feel like it’s a safe place to be when the other person is smiling and in a good mood. We trust someone more when they are cheerful. A side benefit is that we just simply look better with a smile on our face than without one. So smile when you greet others.

Secret Number 3: Exchange Names

Whole books have been written on this subject. Countless articles have covered this subject. We all should know by now that the sweetest sound in the human language is a person’s own name. Secret number 3 is about exchanging names.

You need to get the other person’s name if you don’t have it. If you already have their name then you need to use it. Knowing their name and using their name is an excellent way to make a good first impression. You don’t always have the chance of knowing the names of who you will be meeting. If you already know their name, then use their name in greeting them. If you don’t know their name this is where you get their name.

To get their name, you can say “Hi, I’m James Walker. I don’t believe I’ve met you before.” They will generally give their name at this point. The other person says, “Hi, I’m Natasha Stevenson.” You say, “Natasha Stevenson, that’s an interesting name. Where did it come from?” By repeating it back you do two things. First it helps you remember their name and they like to hear their name. It also helps you to know that you heard it correctly and are pronouncing it correctly. One of the biggest social blunders is to mispronounce someone’s name.

If you are being introduced to a group of people, then one by one go up to each person and smile, shake their hand, give your name and then get their name. Repeat their name back to them. Do this greeting for each one, making a mental note of each name. There are many techniques for remembering names but that’s beyond the scope of this article. The point is to use one of the common name-remembering techniques to remember their names.

Secret Number 4: Dress the Part

Dress for success – we’ve all heard that term. Some people say, “People shouldn’t judge me by how I look. They should judge me for who I am.” That’s nice to say but that’s not reality. People do judge you by how you look. We do judge books by their cover. We wouldn’t even look in a book, let alone buy one, if we weren’t impressed with the cover. So, just like a book, you have to sell yourself on the outside.

It doesn’t take a lot of money to dress nice in my opinion. Maybe some people can tell the difference between a $90 shirt and a $20 shirt. A nice dress shirt that is pressed and in good condition or a nice dress that fits well and looks good on you will make a big difference. It’s really not so much the price of the clothes but the choice of the style and the fit and that it complements you. The way you dress has an impact on other people. If your shoes are scuffed and dirty, people notice those things about you. It tells them a little bit about who you are, your personality, your character. If you look nice, that makes a difference.

Some people can overdo it. They can be very overdressed with their Rolex watches and Armani suites and it’s obvious that that person may have a self-image problem and is trying to over-compensate or over-impress and in most cases it accomplishes exactly the opposite effect. Think about it. When was the last time a Rolex watch really impressed you? These days, for all you know, it was bought in Mexico for $15.00.

I think, within reason, you dress the part. In most situations there are different levels of dress. Obviously there is everything from a jogging outfit consisting of sweats and a t-shirt all the way up to formal wear. You have to judge what is the appropriate dress for the situation, whether it’s formal, nice business casual, casual or whatever.

It has always been my feeling that you should dress slightly one notch above how you think everyone else will dress. The idea is not that you will look ridiculously out of place but that you will simply stand out slightly. It’s much better to be one notch above than one notch below how other people are dressing. It can be very embarrassing to be in a situation where you are obviously underdressed. If everyone else is in a suit and you are in an open-collared shirt, you will feel very out of place and others will notice it too.

Secret Number 5: Show Interest

Secret number 5 is to show interest in the other person. People can’t help but be impressed with someone who is interested in them. It’s human nature. It’s irresistible. We all have an innate, natural, desire built into us to want to feel important. It’s part of being human. When someone shows interest in us it elevates our impression of them. Just like stroking a cat, she’ll hang around for more.

The way you do it is simple. Just notice things about them. If their name is of an obvious ethnic decent or they have an accent or there is something about them that is interesting to you, ask them about it. Be inquisitive.

Yesterday I had a business lunch with three people. Two of them I had never met before. One of them was a woman. She epitomized a lot of what I am saying here. She was very outgoing and friendly. She dressed very nice but wasn’t overdressed for the situation. I noticed she had an accent. It was very intriguing. I couldn’t quite place where the accent was from. So I asked her where she was from. She said, “You mean where I live now or originally?” I said, “Originally. I noticed you have an accent.” She told me she was from Moscow, Russia. So that brought up a conversation where she told me a lot about Moscow and what it was like. She went on to tell me about St. Petersburg and many other things about Russia. All this came from just one little observation and me showing interest in her.

Secret Number 6: Establish Your Credentials

This is the tricky one. Nobody likes “a brag.” We are all turned off by someone who boasts and talks about themselves incessantly. However, there is a point in a conversation where you need to establish who you are and what your credentials are. When I say “credentials” I mean what you do and what your title is. The other person does need to know who they are dealing with. This is something that should be done quickly and without a lot of glorification or fanfare. It should be done in an unpretentious and modest way.

For example, you might say, “Hello, I’m Mark Jones. I’m the IT Manager of XYZ Corporation. It’s my job to see that all the computer systems are running smoothly and efficiently.” A quick establishment of your credentials.

Maybe your credentials aren’t too impressive. “I’m Fred Smith. I’m a sanitation engineer for Waste Management. My job is to collect the excess refuge from each dwelling in the Smithville region.” You’re a garbage collector! You don’t have to glorify what you do. Yes, you want to present who you are in the best light possible but not with an absurdly overblown or embellished description.

Perhaps you don’t have any credentials. Maybe you’re just starting out. You wouldn’t say, “I’m currently unemployed. Nobody wants to hire me because I’m a loser.” You probably don’t want to say that. You should approach it in a better way such as, “I’m currently working on a business opportunity to teach and train individuals in the area of positive persuasion. That’s my specialty, my expertise. That’s what gets me up in the morning. I’m very passionate about this and that’s who I am.”

So find some way of presenting your credentials of who you are and what you do.

Become the Master of Powerful First Impressions

By following these 6 simple secrets you will be able to master and create powerful first impressions. You will see that people respond to powerful first impressions by giving you the respect and attention due any effective leader. You will be able to step out in a bold, confident manner and begin to positively influence and persuade others to your way of thinking.

Remember, if you blow your first impression it may be your last. So take charge of that first sixty seconds and leave a great first impression.

The Most Powerful Word in the English Language

whyI want to talk today about the most powerful word in the English language. It has only three letters. It is the word why.

Often when we are in a situation where we need to influence and persuade someone to see our point of view or to carry out some task, the other person will have objections. It is human nature for us to immediately want to argue the point with them using logic and reason. The problem with this method is that nobody likes to be proven wrong. Even when people know they are wrong they hate to admit it. You push against them and they tend to push back.

Instead of hitting them with a direct frontal assault by arguing with them about their objections, there is a better way.  This is where we use our most powerful word.

When the other person raises an objection, ask the question “Why?” and let them talk. When they have explained their objection, then ask again “Why?” and let them talk some more. Keep them talking by using the words “Why” or “Why not.” Nine times out of ten they will come to realize the folly of their own position and talk themselves out of it. Many times they come to find out that their reasons just don’t add up.

The key is to use your ears instead of your tongue. There is no argument that you could use that will be half as effective as their own words.

I challenge you to try this method of positive persuasion. The next time you need to get someone to do something, use the most powerful word in the English language – Why. Let us know how it went. We would love to hear from you.

Are You a Conversation Hijacker?

Conversation Hijacker

A hijacker is someone who seizes control of a plane or a car or even a conversation. Are you one of them?

I spotted a hijacker recently. It was at a social gathering of neighbors and friends. It was interesting for me to observe the people there and how they interacted with each other. I noticed one woman in particular, a neighbor of mine. You could never tell by looking at her, but by golly, she was a hijacker!

I have spoken with her in the past and she has expressed her frustrations at making friends. She says no one is interested in her, that nobody cares about her. And she doesn’t understand why.

The problem is that every time you are with her she immediately begins to talk about herself, and it’s nearly always about her health problems. You barely get past “hello” and she will immediately dive right in and start describing her last doctor’s appointment and explain it all in great detail – much more detail than most people want to hear. She’ll go on and on. Frankly, I don’t understand most of what she’s saying. She uses medical terms and concepts that I have no clue what they mean. I try to be a polite person and a good listener and I’ll nod my head and say “really” and “my goodness” once in a while. I wish I really understood what she was saying but I don’t! And honestly it’s very tedious to listen to her and very difficult to get out of the conversation.

The social gathering was a casual dinner at my neighbor’s home. I arrived a little later than most people and as I walked into the dining area I passed this woman. There she was talking to a lady about her latest medical problems. And with her, that’s pretty much the way it always is.

Several weeks ago I was out working in my yard. I had dug a big hole to repair some sprinkler valves. I enjoy that kind of work. It’s kind of fun to work with my hands and get some dirt under my nails. I’m a “fix-it” kind of a guy. So there I was working on my sprinklers when this neighbor walked up to me and began to talk. I didn’t really mind because I could work while she talked. I would nod my head and say “uh-huh” once in a while as she went on.

Well, she talked the whole time I was there working on my sprinklers, which was a good 2 ½ to 3 hours. It really didn’t bother me because I was getting something done, so she could talk all she wanted. She just kept going on and on and on telling me her whole medical history in microscopic detail. I just let her go at it. I knew it would make her feel better and she appreciated having somebody to listen to her.

After talking all this time something interesting happened. She suddenly stopped talking and was silent for a few moments. I think for the first time in a long time she actually ran out of things to say. Then she looked at me and said, “What are you doing there anyway?” I said, “I’m fixing these sprinkler valves.” She then asked me what was wrong with the sprinklers and I told her. For the next few moments she was actually interested in me and what I was doing.

Frankly, it was a remarkable event. It was the first time in all the time that I’ve known her that she has ever asked something about me and was interested in something I was doing. It was so refreshing. What a different feeling it was for me to have her actually interested in me.

Maybe you know somebody like that. Maybe you are somebody like that. Perhaps you are and you don’t even know it! I honestly think this neighbor of mine has no idea how she comes across to people. Maybe someday I will take her aside and we’ll have a little chat and I’ll explain to her the concept that if you want friends and you want people to be interested in you, you have to be interested in them. You’ve got to ask and talk about the other person. That’s the sign of a quality relationship when it’s a two-way conversation.

I encourage you to examine your interactions with others to determine if you are unintentionally hijacking the conversation. If the other person is glancing at their watch or their eyes are glazing over, you might have a problem. Make people glad they talked with you. Be interested in them and attentive to what they have to say. Those are the markings of a healthy, positive conversation.