Tips to Leave a Great First Impression

Despite warnings to avoid the practice, people still tend to judge a book by its cover. That’s exactly why first impressions still matter both at work and in social settings, including on social media. In fact, there is powerful scientific evidence that shows your appearance and what you say affects how powerful and trustworthy people think you are. Are there things you can do in a first meeting to make sure those first impressions are positive? If the first impression comes off poorly, can you correct what people think of you later on?


First Impressions – and How to Counteract Them


The first thing to understand is what you wear and how you look still matter. Whether it’s a first interview or a networking event, be prepared for people to look at you and make snap judgments on your trustworthiness and likability on the spot. This all happens in a millisecond, according to a Princeton study. It’s not just your clothes, either; the study found that happier smiling faces and faces that are more feminine or baby-like are generally viewed as more trustworthy.


While you can’t do anything about the shape of your face, you can try smiling more when greeting people. Lean forward during a conversation, listen carefully and respond clearly to improve first impressions. Job applicants and networkers should practice greeting people warmly, enthusiastically and sincerely to make a better first impression.


Another study showed that people you meet quickly judge whether they perceive you to be charismatic or a wallflower. This matters because charisma is an important characteristic of leaders, and the study showed that those who displayed more eye contact and used decisive speech patterns were more likely to be judged as having strong leadership potential. As you might imagine, this has a big impact in a job interview.


An important characteristic of leaders is they are perceived to be altruistic and concerned about the welfare of their team. In an interview or during any other first meeting, the interviewee should come prepared to ask questions and exhibit a keen interest in the company they’re considering. Always come prepared to networking events with a series of engaging questions to ask people you meet, instead of talking more about yourself. This will pay off in a positive first impression of you as an engaged, interested professional that brings serious leadership skills to the table.


Even making direct eye contact is important to a positive first impression. Another study showed that people are perceived as more intelligent in a first meeting if they make eye contact.


Exuding confidence is one of those characteristics that help other people feel comfortable when speaking with you. If you can relax without visible nervousness during an interview, it will impart confidence to everyone in the room.


Finally, if you have tattoos, try to cover them during the first business meeting. One study showed that people with visible tattoos were perceived to be more promiscuous and less attractive.


At Twin City, we understand the importance of first impressions. Get your job search off on the right foot by making an impression on our team. Call us today.