The expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is seen as a cliché, and it’s absolutely true. Study after study shows that people make their impressions about you within the first three seconds. What are you doing to make it a good one?
Here are Five Winning Strategies to do that:
1. Lead with Enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is contagious, end of story. In a world where people are largely flattened because they are overwhelmed and stressed, just having a natural easy going vibrancy towards life, meeting them, and being there is seen as refreshing and a pleasure to be around. This is not about adopting a personality transplant; it’s just about connecting with your own enthusiasm about life, a particular project, or best yet, the possibility to meet another person.
2. Match Their Tone Levels and Style of Communication
That being said, while it’s important to bring your own spirit of enthusiasm to all situations, you need to match people’s tone levels and style of communication. One of the gifts of being a stand-up comic for several years was getting to witness truly brilliant comics meet the tone levels of their audiences. They may have had very sophisticated humor but when they did a spot at the local comedy club or even performing on the road to a new audience, they made sure to study the audience's overall temperament, sensibility and communication style.
From there, they’d meet the audience from their comfort zone and quickly move up the scale, where within 5-6 minutes they were doing their material, and they audience was happy to come for the ride. If they would have blasted the audience with a total different sensibility unless they were a star or familiar comic, the audience would have backed off. It’s the same with meeting people. Notice their word choices, body language and overall sensibilities and initially match them, so they feel comfortable and can relate to you. It’s not about pretending to be someone you’re not; it’s just about creating a rapport so they are comfortable with you.
3. Be Interested vs. Interesting
One point I am always mentioning in my NYC Life Coaching Sessions is the biggest trap we make with first impressions, business or personal, is trying to win the person over, by trying to impress, dazzle, and show your expertise, when in fact, a simple act of being interested in what they are up to, their experiences, and most of all their needs is the best approach. Even in job interviews, if you are interested in the company, the goals and the mission of the organization, and how that job can support those goals, that’s far more impressive, than trying to “win them over.” It’s not bringing in the WIIFT, “what’s in it for them,” factor. Remember it’s all about them first, then it can be about you later.
4. Do Some Research So You Can Be In Their World
So many times we are so nervous meeting someone that we focus on ourselves rather than being in the person we meet's world. Do research, now with the internet it’s so easy. Google them, look at their profile on Linked In, you’ll soon find lots more common ground. Check out organizations ahead of time and speak to the interesting program they have. Maybe your Alma Maters are the same. Perhaps you both liked an article, and that can be a wonderful catalyst to have a really interesting thought-provoking conversation that can bypass the same ol’ same ol’.
One client decided to make dating an opportunity to get to know people rather than focus on a second date or her having to meet the man of her dreams. She was on a date, and launched in playfully with, “Wow, I noticed you mentioned on your profile that while you’re a registered Democrat you also voted for (fill in the blanks) who was a Republican. Do you think that’s more of a trend going on, with people being more of a centrist than aligning with a pure party?"
He literally dropped his fork, his jaw flew open and said playfully, “I think I need to marry you yesterday, this is the first interesting question I’ve had on a date in the last year. Thank you, you renewed my faith that it may be possible to find a woman who I’m attracted to and can have an intelligent conversation with.” While it didn’t end up being a match, her paying attention to the small details opened the conversation for a far more richer connection, where they immediately shared on a deeper (still appropriate) level and came away enjoying the daunting experience of a blind date.
5. Have Fun
If you are having fun and just enjoying the experience of meeting another person, you’ll convey that spirit of ease and comfort to the next person. If you’re less interested in impressing and more interested in entering the person’s world and providing value, your natural charm and vibrancy towards life will emerge on its own.
Lois is a Professional Speaker, NYC Life Coach and Motivational Expert supports individuals and groups to see their daily life lessons as their greatest curriculum for thriving both personally and professionally.