5 Easy Ways to Make a Great First Impression

3862792315_18a193eda4_mIf God is in the details then a first impression is all the more important.  The key, of course, is to consider the value of a good first impression.  Some will protest that if a person really cares, they will look beyond your appearance.  They're right and yet appearances do matter.  A whole lot.

As a high school president, I remind our staff that parents who send their kids to our school judge us all of the time.  It's to our advantage to be in the habit of good first impressions.

So how do you do that, especially in a recessed economy when money may be tight?  It may be easier than you think.

  1. Grooming. For men, shaving is an absolute must.  Unless you are a famous rock star, keeping facial hair tidy is essential to a good first impression.  It's perfectly acceptable to have a mustache, goatee or beard but keep it neat. Be attentive to the small things and strive to be a person known for cleanliness.

  2. Clothing. Laura Stack, a well known public speaker once shared with an audience that she keeps her wardrobe simple and consistent.  You don't need to shop at Macy's to look good.  Take care of your clothing, polish your shoes and always be ironed.  Find out which colors look best with your skin tones, hair color, etc.

  3. Eyes. Eye contact is important to convey confidence and warmth.  As you speak, be focused and attentive to your listener.  As you listen, look him/her in the eye.  Find out if a pair of glasses will make your eyes even more noticeable.

  4. Teeth. Strange as it may sound, teeth are often neglected.  If there is one category worth saving towards, it's dental care for down the road.  This may mean laser whitening or a whole new set of teeth.  But save now so that when you need to upgrade or replace your current set, you'll be ready.  A great smile is priceless and more folks have fake teeth than you might think.  It's ok, really.

  5. Conversation. To the degree that you can engage someone in conversation, your impression will be strong.  Remember their name, jog your memory as to their personal information (names of children, hometown, pets, etc.) and be genuinely interested in what's going on in their lives.

I encourage you to take inventory as you meet people this week.  Take note of your habits and I'll bet they pay off in the long run.  Good luck!

P.S. Here's a quick tip to make a first meeting even more memorable: follow it up with a short note in the mail.  With as much email as we get in any given day, a kind note is rarely forgotten.

*Photo by Bari D
At Work, CommunicationMike StPierre