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How to Make a Brilliant First Impression in Casual & Formal Meetings?

Prabhleen Gupta

Prabhleen Gupta

Founder- Personal Mastery

First Impression
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Meeting someone for the first time is indeed an overwhelming idea. What to wear, what to say, how to break the ice, should I shake a hand or hug; there’s a lot to prepare for. No matter if you are meeting new connections, a client, an employer, or a customer, everyone needs to make people think of them as a well-behaved, positive and good person; frankly, even I used to struggle with the same. But when my professional and parents, of course, forced me into it, I got hang of it.

Even today I cannot forget my interaction with an employer where I became so swamped by my clumsiness that I ended up stepping up on his foot with my heel. Can’t say it wasn’t embarrassing.
If you want to pull off your first impression like a big-league, here are a few tips that will help you ace the first few minutes of your meeting.

Be on Time

This is worst, to begin with, if you want someone to think of you as a good person. Always try to be on or before time. No one would want to wait for you and then hear a good excuse from you for being late. There are many keys to making a good impression on someone but respecting the time of the people is a general human trait that one must regularly practice. Also, being on time indicates a lot about your personality and also makes people think of you as an attentive and generous person.

Break the Ice with a Warm Smile

As a person, would you want to go out with a person who has a flat expression, the least smile or is obnoxious when you first met them? It might not happen intentionally but not smiling at someone you are meeting for the first time breaks the connection even before it takes place. Break the ice by offering a warm smile, it gives the other person confidence in you. Also, it makes them feel that you are happy or interested to take the conversation forward positively. Smiles can melt the biggest icebergs, therefore, use a smile while you are ice-breaking or conversing further.

Offer Handshake

Offering a handshake improves expressing your generosity and courtesy when you meet somebody. Hugging someone in the first meeting is a little too edgy and a simple ‘hello’ may not be able to do much help either. The best way to fill the ‘meeting gap’ is to shake a hand. Physical touch also plays a pivotal role in impressing the other person.

If you are down for a business meeting, then a firm handshake will express your personality the best in the business field. Furthermore, if you are meeting a prospective person for marriage purposes then a handshake happens to communicate your confidence and underlines your abilities. Keep a note, if a person arrives after you if you are sitting when the person arrives, then prefer standing up and then offering a handshake rather than sitting and addressing them.

Be Confident and Courteous

Fumbles may make you look inferior, nervous and awkward which you definitely wouldn’t want if you want the meeting and conversation to head towards positivity. Therefore, be confident and courteous while speaking or asking questions.

Be Vocal about your Preferences and Choices

You don’t always have to say ‘yes’ or ‘I agree’ to the other person. The first meeting must be interactive and the bottom line is that all are communicating and exchanging information. To dig in, some people agree to drink or eat non-vegetarian dishes when they actually don’t prefer them in reality. Show at least a bit of honesty for yourself. Be vocal about your feelings, preferences and choices’ two or more people’s choices or opinions can be conflicting and it’s completely natural.

Listen Patiently

Listening is the best activity. Whenever one meets anyone new, patience and attentiveness are the least we can offer; not if the other person is not ready to give you space. Listen to the other person, make eye contact and make sure not to interrupt them when they are talking. This does make a great impression in the first or any meeting.

Be Polite with your Words

Sometimes the simplest combination of words can turn out to be insensitive, hurtful and inappropriate. Choose whatever you say wisely before blurting it out uncontrollably. Being too harsh or brutally honest might not work in the first place. Of course, many might feel this is the right thing to do but sometimes the consequences of being honest may end up badly damaging the meeting. Instead, you can choose the right form of words to communicate the same message.

To elaborate, if you want to say, “I extremely hate dogs”, try saying, “I happen not to like dogs because of a scary childhood story”. Do not get too carried away with your emotions on the first meeting. Explaining and having control over your feelings actually communicate a lot about your personality. Most educationists believe that a person who can control their feelings can achieve any propaganda of life.

However, if you end up saying something extremely unreasonable, then don’t ignore it or avoid eye contact, simply, apologise for the same. This is the best damage control one can perform.

Use Humour at Times, but Limited

Being humorous is a great way to kill the awkwardness and the narrow hollow of the space. Generally, no pair of humans can have an ample amount of topics to talk about and this leaves us void of self-consciousness and discomfort. Here is where you can also use humour many people do feel that humour is not a useful thing especially when you meet someone new but humour is helpful in any way, of course, if done in a limit. Therefore, use humour in between your talks but don’t force it too much.

Wear Clothes per the Occasion & Have an Active Body Posture

Clothes mustn’t be the deciding factor if you must see the other person again or not but it does make an impact. Try dressing per the agenda or occasion so that you can dig into the interaction without any problem. If you are meeting a client, keep it formal, and don’t wear pyjamas and irregular stuff. Similarly, if you are meeting a date, don’t wear a tux or a shiny party dress, try calming things down with a semi-casual dress or shirt pant pair.

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