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Make The Greatest First Impression In A Way Most People Don’t Know

Make The Greatest First Impression In A Way Most People Don’t Know

First impressions are, as I’m sure you know, incredibly important. This is especially true in professional settings, in which a first impression can set the tone for the entirety of a meeting, interview, or even business relationship. For that reason, it’s vital that you do everything you can to make sure your first impression is a positive one.

While there are countless different ways to present yourself and act in various situations, there are some things that will impress just about anyone. Here are six of some of the best and most universal ways in which to make a first impression — AND why they work.

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1. Sit up straight.

Slouching in your seat can be a sign of laziness, weakness, or being disinterested. The same applies while standing: keep your shoulders back and chin up at all times. Even if the person you’re meeting does not consciously take note of your posture problems, it’s very possible that he or she could form a less than ideal opinion of you based on this. Subconsciously, you seem less powerful and therefore less impressive as a potential employee or business associate.

2. Make eye contact.

Avoiding eye contact can make you seem nervous or agitated, or just plain shy. Even if you are usually an introverted person, first impressions are all about seeming confident and personable. Don’t overdo the eye contact — no staring! But make sure that you’re being respectful and matching the other person gaze for gaze. This will make a more lasting impression, which is ultimately what you want out of a first meeting.

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3. Smile.

Smiling is contagious. There’s a reason we smile back at people when they smile at us, after all! Smiling makes a great first impression because it gives the other person a sense that you’re friendly and likable. Even after the meeting is over, your smile will remind others that you were a more outgoing and nice person. This also conveys familiarity, which people naturally seek out. When making a first impression, you should try to make the other person feel as comfortable as possible. Smiling does that for you.

4. Don’t say “um” too much.

Even if the person meeting you doesn’t initially pick up on this habit, it will ultimately contribute to a more negative first impression of you. Saying “um” and “uh” is something that almost everyone does, but that doesn’t make it any better. This makes you seem unprepared and uninteresting, and sometimes even less intelligent or experienced. It can also make you seem immature, if you’re a younger person. If you have trouble managing this habit, try speaking more slowly. This actually does wonders, because it allows you to pre-form every word before you say it. “Think before you speak” has never been as important!

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5. Make your first impression in person.

Sometimes, you don’t have any say in the matter. For instance, now many companies will conduct Skype or phone interviews before bringing candidates in for an in-person interview. However, whenever possible you should try to make your first impression in person. For starters, you will be more memorable. It’s hard to gauge how much you like someone or how good a job you’re doing without getting cues from the other person. Body language is important, so in person is always best.

6. Chat a bit first.

Being able to chat with whomever you’re meeting is a sign that you’re comfortable and relaxed. If you were nervous about the meeting, it would be hard to make small talk before diving into the real business of your meeting. However, chatting with the other person tells him or her that you’re confident and prepared for your meeting.

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Featured photo credit: Richard.Asia via flickr.com

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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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