Top Five Tips for Making A Great Impression !
By: Maralee McKee
I originally had another topic planned for you today. As I sat down to write that column, this one began knocking on my mind’s door.
I ignored it and kept typing on my keyboard, but it didn’t go away. It just kept steadily tap-tap-taping. Finally, when I couldn’t stand the noise any longer, I got up in exasperation, put on a smile, opened the door, and invited it to settle in comfortably.
Actually, I’m glad I did.
You have to admit, Top Five Tips for Making A Great Impression ties in nicely since we have new readers to introduce ourselves to this morning!
(I was even a little impressed by the tie-in idea. Kent, my husband, said he agreed. Of course, I was cutting him a slice of pie at the moment I mentioned it. He pretty much thinks anything I suggest is brilliant when he knows saying otherwise might prolong our conversation and delay, even for a moment, the pie I made (peanut butter!) from reaching his plate!)
I could write pages and pages about the significance of first impressions and how they influence the way others perceive, interact, and respond to us.
The first ten seconds you meet and greet someone can, and usually does, permanently impact the relationship you’ll have with that person. In that blink of time, they’ll judge your abilities, your intentions, and your attitudes. In professional settings, this “summing up” not only applies to you, but also carries over to judgments about the quality and value of the service or product you represent.
This is, of course, a very long topic; there’s a whole chapter about it in the book I’m currently writing. What I did here is put together for you a list of the Top Five Tips. They’re listed in no particular order, all equally as important as the next.
Keep in mind: you want to do all of these in the first ten seconds (five seconds is actually better) as you first meet someone. Of course, it’s nice to greet long-time friends with this same formula for showing respect and graciousness.
1. Stand up! Man or woman, these days we all stand up to meet someone new or to greet a friend. As soon as you see the person approaching, stand to welcome him or her. It shows you’re anticipating them coming over to you, and it is a physical statement of your wanting to be with them.
2. Don’t Let Anything Come Between You and the Other Person! As you stand to greet them, walk from behind anything that will physically separate you from the other person. Come out from behind a coffee table, foot stool, desk, or any other item. You want nothing between the two of you but air! Why? It sends an unconscious but powerful message that you trust the other person.
3. Smile! This one might seem like it’s too elementary to even bother to list. However, it’s an impacting gracious invitation and most of us don’t smile as much as we think we do. Put a big grin on your face, larger than you think you should. Then, you’re probably smiling just about the right amount. Why is a smile so important? It’s another verbal signal that speaks for you from across the room before you’ve had the chance to dazzle the person with your wit and charm. A smile says for you, “Come on over! I’m glad to be with you!”
4. Look Them Right in the Eyes! Eye contact is a biggie. No one is absolutely sure they have your attention until the two of you make eye contact. Are you like me? Have you seen someone and then become confused for a moment, wondering whether they are anticipating you or someone behind you? Well, you figured it out by watching their eyes. In a flash, if the other person’s eyes drifted past you, then you knew they were waiting for someone else. Don’t let someone wonder if you’re wanting them to interact with you.Give each person the courtesy of looking them in the eyes. It’s a gift of yourself that lets the other person know in an instant that they’re the center of your attention.
5. Shake Hands! This is the most important of the five skills because it’s where you physically connect with the other person. The two of you join your good intentions towards one another with a physical seal of approval. It’s your personal olive branch and welcome mat. Always try to be the first to extend your hand. Gone are the days when men had to wait for a lady to extend her hand first. (Exceptions are when men are interacting with women who are much older than they are, with Europeans, and with women in Middle Eastern and Muslim cultures.) To be prepared to shake hands, make a habit of carrying everything in your left hand. Papers, books, laptop cases, purses, drinks, you name it; carry it in your left hand so you’re always ready to receive a new person.
Follow these five steps and you’ll always make a five star impression!
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