In three seconds I can tell whether I want to get to know someone.
Sometimes it’s less than that.
Why is that?
Well, I’m not alone here.
According to research, it only takes 3 to 5 seconds for someone to form an opinion about you. While you hope that opinion was based on your intelligence, that first impression is entirely based on what you look like and what you say in those pivotal first few seconds.
Why is it important to have a great first impression?
If you’re an introvert, that first impression can be a challenge.
It is for me.
I over think it and sometimes come off as disingenuous.
I’m sure you want a lasting relationship and having a positive first impression creates trust between two people. Getting off on the wrong foot, then, can ruin your chances at a great lasting impression.
Here are five simple ways introverts, loners or reclusive people can create a great first impression.
1. Be On Time
It’s important, especially for critical meetings like a job interview, to arrive on time or even early.
The people you are meeting are not interested in any excuses you have about running late. So, plan for unexpected delays like traffic, and arrive early.
A simple trick to make sure you will always be on time wherever you go is to set your clocks back 10 minutes. You’ll always be on time when you do this little trick.
I’m a mom to twins and twins come with a lot of….crap. At least 4 times out of the 5 days my twins go to school, I forget something.
We have to drive back and retrieve it, but luckily for us, I set back our clocks so we won’t be late.
2. Dress For the Occasion
It’s true; people spot what you’re wearing and how you’re wearing it right as you enter a room.
Before you attend that get together or meet your blind date at a restaurant, plan out what you are going to wear.
Unless you’re going to a wedding or the opera, it isn’t necessary to show up in a gown with a pearl necklace.
For me this is a challenge. I work from home so I wear yoga pants all day and usually have my hair up in a bun or pony tail.
So, I have to make a conscious effort to put jeans on and put my hair down when I pick up my twins from school and know I’ll be chit-chatting with the other moms and dads picking up their kids.
Did you know that people first meeting you think you are untrustworthy within the first 34 milliseconds if you aren’t smiling? Also, facial expressions can influence other people’s judgement about you.
So, to make sure you have a lasting positive first impression, smile more. People who smile appear as trusting individuals. It also makes you seem more approachable to other people.
4. Don’t Forget to Say, “And How About You?”
People love to talk about themselves. When you’ve made your introduction to a new person, always ask an open-ended question like, “and how about you?”
This is a great invitation for others to tell you about themselves and makes the other people more comfortable, since talking about themselves is easy.
Asking this questions also saves you from many awkward moments. You may end up chatting with a person who is unemployed or someone who doesn’t like their job but has an interest in cars. Asking an open-ended question allows them to talk about something they really want to share.
Can I say that this is very difficult for me. Whenever someone asks how I am I answer and that’s it. I often forget to ask them how they are doing.
Call me one-minded or in my own world, but I really do have to make it a point to talk to someone when I am chit-chatting.
It’s different if it’s a planned meeting like a play date or a night out with my friend. I often only ask questions for my companion to answer.
5. Be Aware of Your Body Language
Non-verbal communication like your facial expressions and your body posture are all attributes other people see when forming their first impression about you.
Some things to watch out for:
· Crossing your arms
· Looking down
All of these signs point to someone who is closed off and not wanting to meet anyone. To give off an open and pleasant feeling, open your arms, stand straighter and give direct eye contact.
It may be hard if you are nervous meeting someone for the first time. You have sweaty palms or nervous habits like biting your nails. Become aware of these little nervous habits and control them in new social situations.
6. Envision How Your Meeting Will Go
To help you shake off your shyness or nervousness about meeting new people, try envisioning how the meeting, interview, get together or date will go.
Imagine entering a room with a big smile and direct eye contact and shaking someone’s hand. If you’re going on a blind date, picture yourself as warm and inviting and wanting to get to know this person.
Whether you have a public speaking announcement, a job interview or a blind date, having a plan on how the day will proceed will give you the confidence you need to make a great first impression.
Three to Five Seconds Is All You Have
It can be nerve-wracking and exciting meeting new people. Just remember people form a first impression within 3–5 seconds of seeing you.
To ensure your first impression is positive, make sure to arrive on time. Being early or on time does go a long way to making a solid first impression.
Also, knowing what to wear is crucial to making a great first impression. Don’t think if you arrive with a stain on your shirt or torn up shoes, people won’t notice.
Give off a warm smile when meeting people and always ask questions about themselves. People like to tell stories about themselves, so make sure you don’t over talk and only talk about yourself.
It’s also important to show you are confident by opening your body up and commanding the room with direct eye contact. People will take note of how you carry yourself and are naturally drawn to self-assured people.
Finally, before going to any new social situation where you will meet new people, always have a plan in place. Envision how the meeting will go and picture yourself being a star at making first impressions.
So, tell me, which tip are you going to use next time you meet someone new?