Have you ever heard that quote “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”?
While it may sound a bit cliché, there’s a reason why first impressions are so important. Research has proven that first impressions are formed during the first 7 to 17 seconds of meeting someone. Whether it’s a job interview, business meeting, or a blind date, those mere seconds of meeting a person for the first time can make or break your future.
Furthermore, within those 7 to 17 seconds, 55% of a person’s opinion is determined by physical appearance. It goes without saying that people will judge you initially by the way you look and how you carry yourself. You may be a millionaire, but if you dress like a bum, people will definitely think that you are one. Which is why, it is important that you always look your best whenever you go out.
Be Clean and Groomed
Obviously, you want to make sure that you’re clean and well-kept. So, the first place to start is by hopping in the shower before you head out for the interview, meeting, or date. You don’t want that first impression to be ruined because you’re emitting some sort of stench.
Besides a shower, make sure that your nails are clipped and clean, since you’re likely to shake hands with your date or business partners. And, there’s no shame in using lotion if needed. Also, don’t forget to slap on some deodorant or an antiperspirant. Again, you don’t want to smell funky.
Since your hair grows regularly, it would be in your best interest to get a haircut. It’s not a bad idea to get a haircut a couple of days before the meeting so that it will grow in a bit. For an interview, stick with something more conservative. Besides getting a haircut, keep it clean by using shampoo and conditioner. Finally, tend to your ear, nose, and chest hair at least once a week.
Finally, there’s your facial hair. In most professional settings you’ll want to be clean-shaven. A proper shave is just a safe bet, and remember, it will grow back. Don’t lose a job opportunity just because you didn’t shave. If you do have facial hair, be sure that there’s nothing in your beard and that it’s clean and trim.
Along with being well groomed, you’ll need to dress the part. For a job interview, a conservative suit is a give-in. Meeting a person for the first time in a less formal setting doesn’t necessarily mean that a suit is required, but you should at least wear clean and wrinkle-free clothes.
And, make sure that you’re wearing appropriate shoes. Believe it or not, this is one of the first pieces of your ensemble that people will notice. Besides properly matching your shoes with your outfit, they need to be cleaned and shined.
Finally, when putting together your wardrobe, steer clear of loud accessories. Your tie or jewelry shouldn’t be the first thing that people will notice and remember about you.
Now that you’re groomed and properly dressed, here a couple of other tips that will make for a good first impression.
- Be on Time — The worst first impression you can make is being late. To prevent this, it’s probably wise to arrive 15 minutes early.
- Relax and Be Yourself — You’re already stressed out, but try not to let that get to you. Blow off steam by doing something that makes you happy, take a deep breath, and let that other person have the chance to meet the real you.
- Chose Words and Tone Carefully — 38% of a person’s first impression is determined by tone of voice, so
don’t make a bad impression because you’re using the wrong words or tone. Be confident, enthusiastic, calm, and humble.
- Have the Right Body Language — Body language tells us a lot about another person. In fact, 93% of people’s judgments of others are based on non-verbal attributes. Maintain good posture, eye contact, and don’t be afraid to smile. Avoid crossing your arms or sitting too casually since these can signal boredom or a lack of care.
Editor’s Note: With additional inputs from Albert Costill