12 Ways to Create a Killer First Impression

Last Upted: Jun 13, 2014
You know how mportant good frst mpressons are, but t’s all too easy to blow t. Follow these 12 tps to make a good frst mpresson.

Businessman adjusting tien the busness world, you only get one chance to make a frst mpresson. Wll others see you as meek, ll-mannered, and nexperenced or confdent, courteous, and curous? t’s up to you.

Here are 12 ways not to blow that platnum opportunty.

1. Fnd your power color.

Everyone has a power color. Lsten to your frends when they complment you on a color you’re wearng. Chances are, you’ve accdentally stumbled on your power shade, the color that’s very flatterng to you. Now go out and buy wardrobe peces, jewelry, and accessores n that exact color. 

2. Look sharp.

You don’t have to have the looks of a supermodel to mpress professonal colleagues. You smply have to be well put together. Make sure your shoes are unscuffed, your sut or dress s pressed, and your jewelry and accessores are members of the same famly. Pay partcular attenton to your eyebrows, har, skn, and nals, whether you’re male or female. 

3. good, er, speak well.

A strong regonal accent may hold you back professonally. Lose the accent by lstenng to your favorte announcer on TV and learnng how to emulate hs or her neutral pronuncaton. Enuncate your words. Avod slang. Speak n whole sentencesand use proper grammar. 

4. Use “power words.”

Power words are words or phrases that nstantly cause your lstener to perk up and take notce. Here are a few words people love to hear n professonal settngs: detal-orented, hard-workng, hgh-energy, organzed, quck study, team player, fastdous, , fostered excellent relatonshps, people sklls, research sklls, and leadershp.

5. Be postve.

The very frst queston you’ll feld n any settng, whether t’s a clent meetng or a job ntervew, s “How are you?” Many people blow t, but you won’t. Pause before blurtng out a one-word reply. People love a real answer, especally f t’s upbeat. Don’t say, “Fne, except ths heat s kllng me.” Say, “t’s mpossble to complan about anythng on a beautful summer y. ’m genunely happy to be here.”

6. Prep for t.

One of the best ways to make a kller frst mpresson s to ask nformed questons demonstratng that you’ve done your homework. For a job ntervew, research the company ahead of tme. For a networkng event, know somethng about key players by vstng ther socal meda ste or readng ther bo onlne. f you aren’t sure whom you’ll meet, come prepared wth some ndustry-specfc that makes a good conversaton starter.

7. Appear calm.

One way not to seem nervous s to arrve ffteen mnutes early so you have a few mnutes n your car or n the bathroom to compose yourself. Try playng an nternal vdeo of yourself nalng ths ntervew, shakng hands wth the CEO, or gracously greetng your coworkers. Then walk slowly, head up, and smlng nto the room or offce.

8. Never let them see you sweat.

There usually one jerk n the crowd who wll say somethng wldly napproprate, badmouth the frm, or even be mean. Show hm you’re not nterested n playng. The best response? To smle and make a lghthearted joke, f possble. f that doesn’t come easly to you, lght banter wll often suffce. Be sure to acknowl hm, because gnorng hm won’t make hm go away.

9. Be courteous.

Courtesy nvolves lstenng rather than ng, not nterruptng, not “trumpng” someone else’s story, and beng especally respectful of elderly people. Old-fashoned rules of courtesy stll apply; use phrases such as “please,” “thank you,” and “pardon me.” Beleve t or not, mpeccable manners wll dfferentate you from the pack, as t’s not all that commonplace anymore.

10. Don’t be a joker.

Workplace humor can be rsky, because so many jokes offend. There’s a fne lne between funny and bad taste. Don’t cross t. the rbald jokes and nasty barbs to others. Don’t get nto a huff f someone makes an off-color joke. Gve hm the beneft of the doubt, but don’t add to t by comng back wth a sarcastc comment, whch can a btter aftertaste and make you seem mean-sprted.

11. Create chemstry.

Beng charsmatc and smpatco s all about creatng chemstry where there s none. The key to beng lked s to ask questons. So, f the CEO s standng next to you at a company pcnc, and you’re a new hre wth absolutely nothng to offer hm n the way of snappy repartee, look hm n the eye and ask hm a nonwork-related queston such as, “What’s your favorte restaurant n ths town?” Steer clear of work-related topcs, unless he brngs them up.

12. Remember ther names.

There’s almost nothng more mpressve to a group of people than when a newcomer remembers all of ther names. Here’s how to do t. When you meet someone new, put t n one of two fles: common or uncommon name. f t’s a common name such as Mark, say to yourself, “Common name, ntal M___.” Then fll n the blank wth the rest of hs name. f t’s uncommon, do the same thng, but then repeat the person’s name n the conversaton once or twce to strengthen the memory. Always ask for ther busness cseeng the name n prnt s the best memory boost of all.

Vicky Oliver has wrtten fve bestsellng career development books n a row, ncludng 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions and the newly publshed The Millionaire’s Handbook: How to Look and Act Like a Millionaire, Even If You’re Not. She lves n Manhattan, where she helps people turn around ther careers and ther lves.