first impression
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Making a Good First Impression

If you are worried about how to make a good first impression when you meet someone or present to a new audience, have a look at these top tips to help you improve your initial impact.

Both our verbal and non-verbal communication skills play an important part in how we come across to other people. The main factors, which influence the impact we make on our audience and their first impression of us, can be summarised as follows:

  1. WHAT WE SAY – THE WORDS

    These require careful selection and ordering, and they must be relevant to your audience. It helps to have an awareness of their level of knowledge on your topic. If you are using jargon or technical terms in your presentation or conversation, think hard about whether people will understand them. If you are in doubt, it is always worth taking the time to explain them.

  2. PROJECTION AND TONE OF VOICE

    You need to consider what your voice is like to listen to – are you loud enough for the audience and space you are in? Also consider how easy you are to understand, if you have an accent that some might consider strong, think about slowing down when you talk. Use your voice to create the right atmosphere, whether that is professional or more intimate.

  3. BODY LANGUAGE

    Your body language can have a huge impact on your first impression. Think about your facial expression, is it welcoming? Make sure your posture shows openness, and stand upright.

  4. ENTHUSIASM

    Enthusiasm is catching, so if you want your audience to be enthusiastic, you need to demonstrate it yourself.

  5. QUESTIONING AND LISTENING

    People soon realise whether they have your full attention. Use active listening and good questioning techniques to show interest in what they are saying.

  6. DRESS

    You may not care what you wear, but the people you are meeting may do. If you are not sure of the dress code, then generally err on the side of formality.

  7. DON’T TRY TO BE SOMEONE YOU ARE NOT

    Above all, be yourself. People will pick up on it if you try to be someone you are not. Just focus on being the best ‘you’ that you can be!

Following these tips may feel daunting to start with but the more you do them, the easier they will feel until it is all second nature to you. Practice most definitely does make perfect!

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