As a student, I try to work hard to build my professionalism while still enjoying life as a kid. This requires making good, solid first impressions. I find a first impression to be an ever-learning skill. It takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight.
I can remember the first time I met a car salesmen (yes, sounds a little cheesy, I know). He sold my father a new Ford truck. He was the first man to ever extend a hand out for me to shake who was a “true-businessman.” I had a solid, firm handshake. He said he liked my handshake. Ever since then, I have taken pride in my ability to make a good handshake.
A few months ago, I was looking for a new vehicle. I went to him to sell me a car. He remembered who I was and we made a deal on a little Ford Escape. Four months later, he still calls to check up on me and help me out if I need it. I truly believe it was the handshake in that first impression I made several years ago that built the relationship.
In this recent article published by Erin Keane and Ani Vrabel with the Medill Reports in Chicago, they talk about being professional and what people notice when you make a first impression.
I liked the quote by Tim Sanders. He is the author of “The Likeability Factor.”
He says, “People who combine their professional talents with emotional talent are more effective in the workplace and in their personal lives.”
In other words, these people are successful.
Professional talents and emotional talents allow an individual to express themselves and make others around them feel comfortable.
With that being said, the article also talks about first impressions and how that first moment shared with someone could make or break any further interaction.
Something the article mentioned was a smile.
There is an art to smiling and there is something about showing teeth that really makes people happy.
Interesting fact: Someone can hear a smile through their speakers when listening to the radio. Therefore, a smile is also an attitude changer, too.
A smile can give comfort to those you interview or even in a good work situation. Overall, making a good first impression with whomever you meet.
Lastly, the article says a first impression can be made through your appearance. It is crucial to be looking your best in a professional setting.
Although, this task seems to be somewhat difficult with my generation. We sometimes like wearing more comfortable and loose fitting clothing.
So-let’s recap: How can you make a good first impression?
1. A great mix of professional and emotional talents.
2. A great smile!
3. A great outward appearance (a.k.a. dress sharp)
Although Sander’s ideas are a little different than how I approach situations, these are still good tools to have and I use a variety of them everyday in a casual and even business setting.
One last thought.
Yes, first impressions CAN be tough, but once you have mastered the skill, you will find it to be one of the easiest things in the world.