Whether you’re networking or getting ready for that job interview, you have to know that first impressions are key. People assume a lot about you based on their first impression of you, so you want to make sure that the impression that they get is a good one.
How can you make sure to make a quality first impression that’s memorable and leaves your conversation partner feeling all warm and fuzzy?
Dress Snazzy- Snazzy dressers are more likely to catch the attention of others—and are thought of as neat and organized. Dressing snazzy (and appropriately!) projects professionalism, which suggests that you know what you’re talking about before you even open your mouth.
Be Confident and Well-Spoken- Confidence is attractive and memorable. It tells people that you’re ready to take on the world. Think you’re not the best speaker? No problem. Practice, practice, practice! Think about your word choice and what you want to say/ask. Go over it a few times before the event so that speaking is easy and you can focus on being self-assured and making eye-contact.
Be Welcoming- People are less likely to remember exactly what you said and more likely to remember how you made them feel! Be enthusiastic, helpful and polite—it goes a long way to make someone remember your pleasant presence.
Do Your Research- If you’re going to a job fair, read up on the attending companies and the positions that they’re looking for. Do the same for a job interview. Meeting a networking contact? Read up on them on their LinkedIn or website. This prepares you for the event and makes you look savvy. Looking smart never hurt nobody!
Actively Listen- Ever done that thing where you’re so excited to share some information with your conversation partner that you didn’t really hear what they said? This is the opposite of that. Really engage with the other person and actively listen. This means to listen carefully, do not become distracted by your own ideas while your partner is talking, and ask questions about things you don’t understand rather than nodding along! If you’re worried that you’ll forget what you wanted to ask, just write it in a portfolio to review when there’s a natural place for you to ask a question. This way, your partner feels heard and you gain the maximum amount of information from your meeting.
This might seem like a lot to keep in mind at first, but no worries. Anything new that you’re picking up is tough at first. Once you get into these good habits, they’ll become a routine that comes easily and will be difficult to break. Now get out there!