First Impression – Guide To An Influencing First Encounter

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First impression. You might not have heard it, but there is a saying which states: ,,By one’s clothes they meet, by his mind they send away.”. Meaning, that a person is at first perceived only by his or her physical and aesthetic characteristics. And only then, after the meeting or interview is done, another trait comes to determine how a person is perceived. That of one’s mentality. Or at least, what he or she has managed to show of it, during the meeting.

  • Why is the first impression so important?

    As much as we’d like not to be perceived by our physical characteristics, that’s how human nature works. You simply cannot look at a person for the first time and say: ,,God! He/She has some nice or awful personality!”. Because personality is something bigger. And deeper. Something that takes time to fully understand and get to know. Just like the time needed for one to develop it, as well.

    But until then, we’re stuck with what we get. The outlook. Now I’m not saying that one must be beautiful and good looking to make a great first impression. Actually, your natural physical traits have little to do with it. Although being a plus, it’s not essential. I’ve seen and have experienced on myself many good looking people making all the wrong impressions you can think of.

    Why is it so important you ask? Well it’s something crucial for our well-being and success. Because, as social creatures, we are dependant on others and being well perceived opens more doors and better career and personal opportunities for us. Not only when it comes to formalities, like job or university interviews, business meetings or a fancy ball, but also in everyday social life. We constantly have to meet or interact with new people in our lives. It might be about making friends, or finally introducing yourself to that special person, who you’ve been attracted to, or you just met at a club. And even going to the local supermarket or sitting in the bus next to someone.

    Some of the examples I stated above ARE important to our social and professional development, while others are more of a situations, where you can shine with good manners. And, if you’re good enough – class. Here are a couple of ways, with which you can outperform even the prettiest people in the room in first impression. But most importantly, leave a mark of respect in your new acquaintances.

  1. It’s All About The Smile.

    Let’s be real. Would you find a grumpy, all serious-like, poker faced person appealing and inviting? Would you love it if you have to spend an entire evening or meeting with this guy or gal, no matter how formal or informal the setting is? Or you’d like to be far away from the awkwardness as possible. I thought so.

    You might’ve heard it before, but the smile is probably the best accessory one can put on himself. People who often smile and especially on their first meet up with someone new, are perceived better and more attractive. The smile says a lot about you. It helps you leave a pleasant feeling in your peers and overall helps you to be associated with good, happy vibes in other people’s memories.

    Many masters in influence often stick out from the crowd with their body language. And the smile is one of the key instruments they implement. Some do it naturally, some learn to do it. Now i’m not saying you should go ahead and give wide, creepy smiles wherever you go. Or go as far as to be perceived of too shy or clownish. But worry not, you’ll find the ,,Goldilocks” zone very soon as you practise.

  2. Eye contact

    Throughout many cultures around the world, eye contact is seen as something essential in a conversation. Looking someone in the eyes is perceived as respectful, concerning and involving. Not to mention, it shows confidence. Wheres one who’s eyes always move when they meet yours and jump from a spot to spot, is often seen as unconfident, weak-charactered and even in some cultures – deceitful.

    Using eye contact, along with the smile is a powerful and charismatic tool to use in your daily, formal and informal interactions. From business meetings and negotiations, to dating and meeting people, playing your eye game will reward you big time. Of course, like the smile, you shouldn’t overdo it. Too much eye contact can be viewed as staring and creepy. So balance it, people!

  3. The Body Language

    It’s fascinating how much non-verbal and unconscious behaviour plays a part in our interactions with people. It is as if we have an entire additional way of speaking, parallel to our usual conscious and controlled verbal communication. And the thing is, it is as influencing as the verbal one. If not more sometimes.

    For example, look at famous politicians and influencing figures. Look at gifted artists, comedians, mentors, teachers and lecturers. Sometimes, when you look deeply into what those people are actually saying, it’s not something extraordinary or unique. But the way they say it and their body language matters. And the way you receive and remember the information they’re spreading.

    In addition to that, there is something called ,,Mirroring effect’‘ in our human interactions. We tend to mirror the body language of the person in front of us in a non-conscious level. Not always though. But here comes the opportunity to improve on a conscious level.

    If you smile, while looking at another person and they see your smile, an instinct reaction kicks off in their brain, making them react similarly. Mirroring another’s movements, for example, posture, legs and arms position, gestures etc, it perceives you as more engaging to the conversation and what the other is saying. As if you dive into that person’s feelings and problems. Like it ,,shouts” to the other person: ,,Hey! We have stuff in common!”. And of course – It makes you a good listener and immediately more likeable to your peers.

  4. Speak Clear, Don’t Mumble…

    When you strive to make a good, hard-hitting first impression, this is a must for you. Speech, along with the eye contact is one of the first things that will show the presence (or lack) of confidence. Being able to say what you have to say with a crystal-clear tone is a perk, not everyone acknowledges. That’s why they mumble and speak to their noses, while the other person needs to ask for him or her, to repeat themselves.

    Another point I’d like to make here. You may have so many interesting, funny and exciting stories, which you want to share with the others. But if you don’t tell it with confidence, passion and clarity, you’d never reap the fascination in others, which you have hoped you had sown.

    But! You shouldn’t yell too much to be heard or overreact. Instead, try to talk calmly with a normal tone of voice. That way, you’ll be taken more seriously and be listened to. Having a deeper voice helps, but it’s not that necessary.

  5. ”The First Couple Of Seconds” Rule About The First Impression

    When you first introduce yourself to someone new, you have just couple of seconds to shine and make things work your way. Beyond that, things are less simple and require more work. Not saying here, that the first seconds are vitally important and unexpendable. After all, how you behave thereafter, tomorrow or months and years from the first meet is of course more determining. You can’t perform like an influencing, charismatic superstar in the first day of meeting someone and then behave like an irresponsible primate and still get to be respected and listened to.

    But for the short term, you can make a booming and remembarable first impression. It is in the fist couple of seconds, where you’re being heavily judged on an unconsciouss level by those who first meet you.  What you could try in the first few moments of introduction, is this:

    Nice, Firm Handshake – oh yes. Nothing says ”I’m confident and know what I want” like a good handshake. Just like the eye contact and speech clarity, of which we talked above, the perfect handshake is another powerful tool of to add in your arsenal. Now, you shouldn’t grip the other person’s arm and squeeze it as much as you can. But a nice, firm, energetic handshake will do. Combining it with looking at the person’s eyes and that will surely make a powerful impact.

    Try To Remember The Other Person’s Name – People usually like their name. It’s one of the things they find the most important in themselves. So when you meet someone, do make the effort of remembering their name. I know it’s hard sometimes, especially when you meet couple of people at the same time. You can try something like this: If the person’s name is for example, Michael, you can say – ”Nice to meet you, Michael! I’m John!” or ”Hey Michael, I’m John!”, etc. Using their names often later on in the conversations is an additional help in maintaining your influence over the other. Because, like I said, people like their names and like to hear them. This makes the conversation less formal and more friendly. Therefore, a person will feel more relaxed when they talk to you. You can think of some tricks and hacks of yours to better remember the name. For example, Michael is the same name as Michael Jordan, the basketballer… or even Michael Myers, the notorious fictional serial killer. Doesn’t matter, as long as it helps you remember.

  6. The Ability To Keep The Conversation Going

    Not everyone likes small talk. Some, myself included, find it really annoying to maintain. But it’s essential when you talk to a new person. You can’t off the bat begin with serious topics and personal problems. Sometimes it happens quickly, but in most cases it needs time.

    Good tip of mine is, don’t talk about too sensitive topics, like religion, politics etc. You don’t know the other person’s point of view on these topics and your whole impression game could go to hell.

    Also, avoid talking much about yourself. As much as it scratches from the inside, try to reduce it to a minimum. Instead, ask questions about the other person and what he or she is saying. This means to be a good listener. Try to listen carefully in what the other party is saying, not to just struggle to find what to ask next. By simply listening, your words and questions will flow much more easily and naturally. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, so you’ll be rewarded for being a good listener. Trust me.

  7. Just Be Confident And Of Course – Yourself

    You probably have read the word ”confidence” here a couple of times. Well, that’s because it is THE MOST important tipp I could give to anyone. Being confident along with the other first impression techniques, pave the way to the connections you’ll establish throughout your school, university and job. Some of them will be life-long. Such as – finding your significant other, making friends and professional achievements.

    Being confident, dismantles you from harmful sensations such as anxiety and stress.  Which means you are free to work your magic without worrying to much. And also allowing you to be yourself in important situations. Crowded places or personal, private meetings.

    The world is full of fake people. People who put on different masks for every different person in their life. That’s why those, who are real and true, stand out and are usually more favourable. That is if you have nice manners and personality. If you’re not sure about yourself, ask your closest for an honest opinion on yourself and try to accept any flaw they mention without getting angry or nervous. Be open minded to yourself and always willing to change. I’m not saying you should be that, whom society tells you to be, but there are certain social norms we all must accept if we’re willing to live in the world of today.

  8. And Last But Most Definitely Not Least – Be Interesting

    How do you become interesting you ask? What will make you stand out from the crowd? Well, by not going with it. It’s so simple, yet a lot of people are afraid to do it. I’ve seen so many people around me do it, even among my friends and family. Even myself. Well, that too comes from a natural point of view. We as social creatures always strive to blend in, to find groups in which we’re accepted and never to be left behind. That no doubt, is something that has helped us survive and procreate as species throughout human history.

    While this would be very useful in our tribal days, centuries ago, now it’s a bit different. We no longer are that dependant on blending in for the sole purpose of survival. This gives us plenty of freedom to develop ourselves and character however we want. Now, there are things, which we all are bound to accept and be equal in – rules, laws and constitution. But what I talk about, are things like tastes and opinions. Music, films, art, literature, politics, religion and all sorts of culture.

    I have always found people with strong individualism and unorthodox tastes and opinions interesting. They tend to make the best conversations and become great friends. Because I have so much to talk about and learn from them.

    How does one become interesting? First you need to exit your comfort zone and experience new things. Step away from your usual daily life and surroundings. Try a different genre of books, films and music. Visit museums and see what catches your eye. Travel abroad and discover a different culture than yours. This way you’ll meet new people, who are outside and different than your usual friendly surrounding. People, from whom you’ll learn a lot of new things.

    Them, among the other things I mentioned, will enrich your character and you’ll have so much more to talk about to others. Therefore making you more interesting and worthwhile. This is especially true if you’re looking for a romantic partner. So go out there, don’t be afraid to be different and I promise you, that you’ll be rewarded for it.

    Last, but deffinitely not least, you should check out Dale Carnegie’s book – ”How to win Friends and influence People”. It is a must for everyone who strives for character development and making a lasting first impression.


    Those were my eight tips in how to make an unforgettable first impression.
    What else deserves to be added in this list?
    Share with the class in the comment section.

    Until next time,
    OwlKnow wishes you happy and successful endeavours.

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