AJ’s advice – first impressions
|April 7, 2012||Posted by Alaa Jasim under AJ's Advice|
First impressions count. As much as we hate that fact, it’s true, and it will be for a long time to come. Everybody makes first impressions. It doesn’t matter about the context or who you are: you will make a judgement about someone, as they will about you, within about five minutes of first meeting. It’s always best to make a good first impression, even if most people dismiss their first impressions of you after about ten minutes of first meeting. Knowing what to do and how to act in front of strangers is a bit of a toughie; it’s always hard to introduce yourself to someone you’ve never met. So here are my top tips on making good first impressions and meeting people:
Obvious, right? Apparently not, because you’d be surprised how many people act like a complete prat when you first meet them and then turn out to be the nicest person in the world. It’s human nature to try and impress people, and that can be good, but sometimes people try too hard. Way too hard. So just say hello and take it from there. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be a bit awkward at first, but don’t worry: it gets more fun after the initial few minutes of “Oh, er… hi… erm… I’m… er…” How many times have we all been in that situation?
Ahh, new person! Stranger! Scary! Actually, no, not really. It’s pretty common for people to just freeze around new faces. (I’m the opposite. I talk way too much.) Trust me though, there is nothing weirder and more awkward than meeting someone who’s got their arms folded and just won’t say a word. Usually this is accompanied by a terrified expression and nodding to everything the other person says. It always does well to remember that the people you’re meeting are in fact only people – just like you. They’re in the same situation as you are, even though it may not seem like it. Some people are genuinely more confident than others, but keep your posture open and confident, don’t fold your arms or hunch over, and don’t mumble nervously into your shirt collar, and you’ll do fine.
This one also seems a bit of a given, but let’s remember our amazingly nervous, arms-folded, socially awkward, mumbling-into-their-shirt-collar friend. Don’t be overpowering, but don’t be dull. You want people to see that you’re confident and that you’re interesting, which I guarantee you are. Everybody is interesting: I am yet to meet a completely lifeless, dull and boring person, and I’ve met a good number of people. Ask questions if you have them – it won’t make you look stupid, it’ll make you look interested.
Don’t be afraid of what they think of you
Okay, sometimes we make bad first impressions. Don’t worry! Move on and learn from your experiences. Being able to make a good first impression can be something of an acquired skill. If you’re constantly wondering about what the other person is going to think of you, you might unintentionally come across as a bit stiff and odd. Be aware that people might not like you the first time they meet you; it happens to everyone. Be aware, but don’t worry. There’s something of a fine line between the two. As long as you’re not a genuinely terrible person, you’re bound to make a good first impression at some point, and let’s face it, how likely is it that you’re a genuinely terrible person? Not that likely.
So, to sum up: be yourself, not who you think the other person wants to meet; be engaging and talk to them; and don’t be afraid of saying what you think. You’re likely to come across well, so don’t worry too much about it. Be confident in who you are, and they’ll be confident about who you are as well.
That’s about it from me this week! I’ll see you again next week with more ramblings; feel free to get in touch in the meantime. Questions and comments, as always, are more than welcome.