By: Jacqueline Zenn
Did you know that it only takes a tenth of a second to make a first impression?
In other words, when you meet someone for the first time, you need to be on your game from the very beginning. This includes being aware of everything from the words you choose to the body language you convey.
Whether you’re meeting new connections, team members, potential employers, or customers, I’ve put together a list of tips designed to help you put your best foot forward and make a killer first impression.
1) Pay attention to your body language and posture.
Effective body language goes beyond simply standing up straight and having a firm handshake — although those things are definitely important, too. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, keep an open posture (don’t tightly cross your arms or legs), lean in when you talk, and don’t be afraid to take up some space at the table. These nonverbal cues can make a powerful subconscious impact, so be aware of your body language and posture during meetings in general, but particularly initial pitches or interviews.
What behaviors should you aim to avoid? It’s smart to refrain from tapping, touching your face too often, placing objects in front of yourself, blinking excessively, and sitting or standing too close to others (respect the bubble, people). (Read this post to learn more about body language.)
2) Modulate your pitch and tone of voice.
A high-pitched tone of voice can make you seem childish or nervous — especially if you tend to “uptalk” or use a rising inflection at the end of your sentences. In fact, it has been shown that people perceive those who have a rising intonation as less knowledgeable, no matter what they are actually saying.
Not sure if you’re guilty of this? Try practicing your presentations or simply reading aloud into an audio app with playback. You’d be surprised at how different you sound to others versus in your own head.
On the other hand, faster speakers are considered to be more confident, according to a study performed at Brigham Young University. However, even if you’re talking fast, be sure to avoid using filler words such as “um,” “ah,” “like,” and other similar phrases whenever possible, as it shows hesitation.
To view the entire article on HubSpot, please click here.