Making an unforgettable first impression is invaluable to your reputation and should never be underestimated. In just seven seconds, someone knows whether or not they like you.
Amy Cuddy, a Social Psychologist and Lecturer at Harvard University, has done extensive research on this topic. From her research, she discovered that the most common mistake men make when first meeting someone is trying to show off their skills, strengths, and competencies. First impressions create connections that can open doors to opportunities that will enhance your personal or professional development. Take this time to treat them right.
Here are the 10 things every man can do to make an unforgettable first impression:
A Solid Unforgettable Handshake
A single handshake done right develops the same level of rapport that three hours of continuous conversation produces. A firm, warm, and dry handshake, coupled with affirming language such as “It’s nice to meet you” is a great start to a lasting first impression. A moist handshake displays nervousness and lack of confidence. This alone is enough to ruin a first impression without words being spoken.
An Approachable Appearance
Poor self-care can be seen as unapproachable and uninviting. By paying attention and taking care of your body odor, dental hygiene, clothing, and appearance, you can prevent the risk of pushing people away before they even approach you. These are things we as humans subconsciously judge others for whether we mean to or not. Having a well-maintained beard and facial hair is more inviting than a grizzly one which could be potentially ruinous to your appearance.
Build Trust with Your Tone
Self-awareness is key to understanding the type of tone each situation requires. The quickest way to ruin a first impression is to come off as condescending and rude. If your tone of voice has a hint of an attitude, you can guarantee your first impression will be less than memorable. A negative attitude can indicate conceitedness, disrespect, and a lack of value for others’ time. According to a study published in 2017 in the journal, “Evolution and Human Behavior”, men who raised the tone of their voices were deemed more trustworthy and friendly than men with lower-pitched voices. Men with lower-pitched voices are seen as more dominant.
Let Your Body Speak
93% of a conversation is based on non-verbal cues with only 7% being verbal. Be aware of your eye contact, body language, positive affirmations (head nods, agreeing verbal cues), and active listening. Eye contact alone is crucial. Keeping your eyes on your acquaintance for at least 60% of the time shows you’re actively engaged, listening, and interested. If you notice them mirroring you, you can be sure they’re comfortable and enjoying their interaction with you. The results from a 2014 study, “Why are Women Better Decoders of Nonverbal Language?”, concluded that women are better at translating non-verbal cues than men. Being aware of your body language is crucial to winning over your female counterparts.
Leaning forward with your feet facing your acquaintance shows them you’re engaged and interested. It’s proven in most situations, staying two feet away is enough of a radius to respect personal space and lean in comfortably. If you’re spitting on the person you’re talking to, you’re likely too close for comfort. This also includes physical touching. Not everyone is comfortable with being touched and it’s best to avoid doing so until you’ve transitioned from acquaintance to friendship with an understanding of what their preferences are.
Find Common Ground
Find common ground to build trust through interests and asking questions. This may require some small talk, but it helps to pave the way for more in-depth conversation. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and give them your address telling them to come over for dinner. Patience is key.
Posture is a quick way to determine if someone is confident, insecure, or checked out. Power posing has proven to increase confidence by altering the chemicals in your brain making you feel more comfortable, confident, and assertive. Stand tall with your shoulders back and head straight to feel more confident and intelligent. Your acquaintance will view you as such, too.
The easiest way to sabotage a first first impression is by interrupting. It’s a clear indication you have no respect for them and don’t find their thoughts, opinions, and statements valuable. Practice patience by listening to what they have to say and finding the right time to insert yourself.
Welcome with a Smile
A smile is the most welcoming gesture inviting acquaintances to want to engage more. Just like a yawn, smiling and laughing are contagious and are easy ways to make an unforgettable first impression. Have your acquaintance walking away with a good laugh and a smile on their face and you can guarantee you’ll be remembered.
As you approach the end of your interaction, show you’re interested by asking to connect on social media or exchanging contact information. Ending the conversation with a follow-up is a great way to build a relationship. If you say you’re going to reach out, you better keep your promise and do so in a timely manner. Be sure to follow-up with a recap of your conversation. If your acquaintance provided you with their blog, website, or a recommendation, make sure to reference your thoughts on those in a complimentary way.
Practice these 10 simple steps to leave a lasting impression. Conversations should be mutually beneficial. Be sure to engage and ask open-ended questions to get to know the person. You want them to walk away feeling good about their interaction with you.
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