3 SIMPLE STEPS TO MAKE A GREAT “FIRST IMPRESSION”

How often have you heard the expression, “You never have a second chance to make a first impression”? How often have you judged a person based on your first impression of him or her? 

It’s human nature to make our decisions about others based on how they look, speak, and act the first time we meet. At the first meeting your mind is busy creating a “mental picture” of that person. Oh, by the way, once we form an opinion about another person in our mind, it’s almost impossible to get our mind to switch over because we keep going back to the mental picture of the first meeting.

So, how do you make sure that you put your “best foot forward” in every situation? Here’s three simple steps that will help you create a “super lasting impression”.

1. Dress for Success. It’s easy with the casual lifestyle we live to attempt to dress down for every occasion. I’m going to suggest you do the opposite. When you are getting dresses for any occasion ask yourself this question. “How will I feel if I am the only person dressed like this?” 

Example: If you show up in jeans and everyone else is wearing business casual, how comfortable will you be? If you are dressed casually and everyone else is in an “after five dress” will you be at your best? I have found over the years that when I am “underdressed” I feel uncomfortable, but if I’m overdressed I don’t! Why do I feel like that? Probably because I’m thinking about “what they think about me”. Let’s face it, most of us really do care about what others think, whether we admit it or not. If you were attending the Oscar’s would you rather be on Mr. Blackwell’s “Best Dressed” or “Worst Dressed List”? Ask yourself that question before you walk out the door. 

When I did my parties I always wanted the guests to know WHO was putting on the presentation. I wanted to feel comfortable with the guests and that meant not being “uncomfortable” myself. In 22 years I never wore jeans to a presentation. I wore dress slacks and a blazer or in some cases a suit. Why? Because I knew that it was a possibility that a guest would be coming from work in a suit, and I would feel awkward if I was underdressed. I preferred to dress to avoid uncomfortable situations.

2. Smile. The best accessory you will ever add will cost you nothing! It’s your smile! When you smile at someone more often than not, he or she will smile back at you. Smiling is contagious! Smiling is comforting! Smiling is friendly! People are drawn to “smilers”. People respond favorably to you.

3. Be Sincerely Interested. Ask people about themselves. Become interested in the people you meet, sincerely interested. Ask questions that are personal, but not too personal. Keep your questions simple so as not to draw out long stories. Example: “How long have you lived in this area?” , “How long have you been with XYZ Company?” “What do you like best about your job?” 

So remember the next time you know you’ll be meeting someone new; to “dress for success”, “smile” and “be sincerely interested” and you’ll make a great first impression everywhere you go!

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