Whether you’re going in for a job interview, meeting your sig-other’s family for the first time, or heading out for a night on the town, you want to make a good first impression. Aside from the obvious–comb your hair, stand up straight, look ’em in the eye, firm handshake–here are some expert tips to help you show your best side when meeting someone new.
Do some leg work
Who are you meeting? Doing a little digging around about the person can help you know what to expect and make it easier to find common ground. Just don’t let on that you were stalking them on social media.
Be on time
Nobody wants to hear your flimsy excuses, so allow plenty of time for delays, and plan to get there a little early.
Be at ease
Relax. Take some nice, slow, deep breaths before you go in. Center yourself. You are great. You can do this.
Keep your body language open
A closed pose–arms folded, shoulders hunched–gives an impression of being unapproachable and weak. Keep your shoulders back, chin up, and don’t cross your limbs. This posture (called “playing high”) presents confidence, openness, and comfort.
Look your best
If you’re going in for a job interview, wear business attire. If you’re going to a wedding, wear a suit or dress. Make sure the clothes are clean, mended, and fit the occasion. Observe basic hygiene. If necessary, consider hair restoration to bring out your inner youngster.
Smile, and the world smiles with you. A nice, warm smile will melt hearts and make others feel comfortable. Have a positive attitude. Negativity makes for a poor first impression. Present a positive attitude. Don’t speak poorly of yourself or others, and keep your manner upbeat.
Keep the conversation going
Having some (unique) go-to questions handy for meeting new people is a good way to engage them in a conversation and get to know them a little better. Look for common ground, and build a conversation around that.
Maintain eye contact
A lack of eye contact gives the impression of disinterest, but too much of it can be kind of weird. Use the triangle method to maintain proper eye contact: Switch your focus between the two eyes and the mouth.
Listen carefully to what the other person is saying so that you can use the information later in the conversation. If he tells you all about his sister, you don’t want to ask him later if he has any siblings.
Be your authentic self
You don’t have to conform to please others. As long as you’re polite and considerate–and the setting is appropriate–you can let your freak flag fly, and you’ll probably be adored because of it. People respond more positively to authenticity, even if the version of you that they’re seeing isn’t the person they would normally gravitate towards.