First Impressions Affect Communication

By Emma Serlin
October 5, 2017

First impressions matter. As the saying goes “You don't get a second chance at a first impression”. Ensuring that people see the best of you from the beginning will not only make those relationships and interactions easier, but will also improve and expand your network.

Below we've shared 5 simple rules that will enable you to make a positive, lasting impression with your first and improve your communication in the long term.

1. Smile

A smile goes a long way. Its important to remember that you are communicating with facial expressions as well as words and smiling demonstrates that you are friendly, approachable and open to engaging with others. It shows you are interested in the other person and what they are saying, allowing your own winning personality to shine through.

Smiling is also a great way of positively putting yourself at ease and calming your own nerves when meeting people for the first time.

There is no simpler way of getting any relationship off to the best of starts than smiling. Making yourself and those around you feel better. Besides, who doesn't want to be met with a genuine smile?

2. Be Positive

Your attitude shows through in everything you do and is reflective of your emotions, desires and personality. It is something that others will easily pick up on and will greatly affect the way they perceive you.

A negative mindset will cause a negative first impression, no matter how talented or useful to the person you actually are. Project a positive outlook that reflects who you are and what you can contribute. People are attracted to confidence and want to know that they are in safe hands. From the very beginning you will be associated with positivity.

3. Listen  

An often forgotten and very important skill is listening. We all know that person who talks at length without allowing the other person to speak. Or when the other person finally does get a chance will disengage from the conversation, merely waiting for their turn to interject once again.

Giving someone your attention and being interested in what they have to say, shows them that they are worthy of your time and boosts their confidence around you. Every interaction is a chance to learn something new, about the person you are meeting and their field of expertise. However, being overly reticent and allowing the conversation to stagnate will also create a negative impression. It is important to balance out sharing your experiences and hearing others.

Active listening in conversations is an effective way of cultivating trust in conversations. Eye contact, reactive facial expressions and simple positive gestures, such as nodding, will show people you are engaged and interested in what they are saying.

Your new acquaintance deserves nothing less than 100% of your undivided attention.

4. Be Courteous

People take an instant dislike to rudeness and it goes without saying that polite behaviour will go towards making that great first impression. Having good manners and being respectful of the person and what they are representing is vital to fostering good relationships.

Manners don't cost a penny. But can cost you a lot if you fail to demonstrate them.

5. Relax 

In our fast paced and busy lives, moments of calm are always welcome. If you are relaxed and comfortable those around you will feel the same, making it easier to build a strong relationship. Let your body language become open, allow your speech to slow a little and listen to the response when you ask a question. Your voice  should be as warm and welcoming as the smile and handshake you gave them when you first met.

Ultimately you are trying to put people at ease around you and give them confidence in your abilities as well as yourself.

With practice and time these behaviours will become habit and without thinking about it you will instantly create that fantastic first impression which enables effective communication and great relationships to flourish. After all, the first thing we leave anyone with is a memory. So better to make it a good one.

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