How to Make a Positive First Impression

Whether meeting someone for the first time in person or via a video meeting, making a positive first impression will help you become more effective. We’ve all heard the old phrase “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That advice is still true today. But many people reveal that in today’s era of virtual meetings, it’s more difficult to make a positive first impression.

Here are some techniques to help you make a positive first impression.

  • Use a leading question to get the person to talk about something personal, such as a hobby, a recent vacation, their job, or even the city they are from. Most people enjoy talking about themselves or one of their own positive experiences.
  • Create and give a compliment. For example, in a video meeting, you could say, “Wow. That’s an impressive book collection on your bookcase.”
  • Use the person’s name that the person wishes to be called. For example, if a person’s name is Oswald but prefers to be called “Ozzie,” that is how you should address him. Dale Carnegie, in his classic book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” states, “A person’s name is to that person the most beautiful sound in any language.” Of course, that assumes you use the name that the person WANTS to be called.
  • Make a comment so that the person feels special in some way. All you need is to ask for advice, an opinion, or assistance. For example:
    • Can you help me out with this? 
    • Could I ask you for your advice?            
    • What’s your opinion on this?
    • Could you please show me how to do this?
    • Can you give me a few tips?

What Impression Do You Want to Make?

One of the keys to making a positive first impression is to treat people as you want to be treated. We know that in human relations, like attracts like. Be kind to others, and they will likely be kind to you. If you are mean to others, they will have a tendency to be mean to you. Be courteous to others and they will more often than not be courteous to you.

Tip: You can influence another’s emotions by how you exhibit your own emotions. It’s like a mirror: Smile and the person in the mirror smiles; frown and you will see a frown. Smiles and frowns are both contagious. It’s up to you as to how you want to affect the other person and what kind of first impression you want to create.