Studies have shown that it takes people seconds (even microseconds) to make a snap judgement about other individuals, which demonstrates why it’s crucial to make a good initial impression. If you’re starting an internship, a new job or simply meeting a new acquaintance, it’s imperative that you handle yourself in a way that makes others warm to you, whether this is through your confidence, clothing or body language.
Whether you’re au pairing, working as a camp councillor, creating culinary masterpieces in the kitchen, doing a business internship, or living and working in a kibbutz, you need to ensure that you are friendly, self-assured and in control. Here are five ways to make a good first impression:
Dress to Impress: A large part of our summation of others lies in how they dress. Think about it: If you meet someone dressed in a hoodie and shorts, you’re going to have a different impression of them to someone dressed in a jacket and skirt. Think about what kind of impression you want to create on people and dress to achieve this, particularly if you’re entering a business environment. The idea is for you to feel confident and appropriately attired for the occasion so consider how smart you want to be and how you want to accessorise your outfit to enhance your look.
Decide what kind of impression you want to make: Before you go to your new job/ internship position etc. consider what kind of impression you want to make on people. If you’re meeting your au pair family for the first time, you’re going to them to see you as capable, smart, responsible and kind – they are trusting you with their kids after all! Think about how you need to conduct yourself to create this impression and work hard to get your attitude, dress and body language to align to demonstrate your skills and personal attributes in the best way. If you’re not feeling very confident ‘fake it until you make it’ and force yourself to speak with authority and friendliness.
Your body has its own language: Remember, you might be saying one thing, but if your body language is saying another then you’re not going to make the best impression. Remember to have a relaxed, composed and open posture, try not to fidget with your hands, maintain eye contact with the people you’re speaking to, and shake hands firmly. There are a million subconscious cues people are detecting about you from the way you move your body – from the way you position your shoulders to the direction your feet point in. Relax, take a deep breath and smile.
Be conversational: People can almost immediately detect whether you are genuinely interested in them and what they have to say. If they’re speaking to you and you’re fidgety and staring out the window, you’re obviously not going to make a good impression! Be kind, be considerate and be interested in others – if you are open to learning about them and their experiences, they’re likely to warm to you a lot faster.
Have confidence in yourself and who you are: Be true to yourself – believe that you are an interesting, kind, smart member of society with something to offer people, and conduct yourself that way. Carry yourself with dignity and authority, and address and answer people with confidence, even if they’re a lot more senior than you are. If you’re an introvert, make an effort to talk to people and keep some conversation starters up your sleeve.
Practice makes perfect and the more you make an effort to meet and engage with people, the easier it will become!