What do you think someone will think of you, or how will they feel about you when they meet you for the first time?

What type of ‘mark’ will you leave on them?

Have you ever met someone for the first time, and thought or felt “There is something significant about this person?”

I read a quote many years ago which changed the way I conducted myself in a professional capacity. The quote was “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” by Will Rogers.

Then, I extended the influence of this quote to my personal life.

Sales and personal development expert Brian Tracy says “The fact is that when you first meet a person, he/she makes a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and his judgment is finalized largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact.”

The first impression is not only important in your career, it is also very important in your personal/social life.

So, how do you create a memorable first impression?

Here are 7 tips on how to create a remarkable first impression, personally and professionally. (Please note that this article is not specifically written for job interviews, sales meetings, or first dates. Although, some of these 7 tips can be incorporated in those scenarios.):

1. Ask questions – a profound lesson that I learnt from one of my public speaking coaches was this – “When you make a statement, people listen. When you ask a question, please think”. So, when you are hoping to create a remarkable first impression, ask questions of the person or people that you are engaging with. That way you will come across as showing a genuine interest in knowing about them.

2. Talk less about yourself (ie. don't talk too much about yourself) – I have lost count of the number of emails and phone calls that I receive on a regular basis from marketing companies. They all start with something along the lines of “My name is……. I am from……. We do this……” When small business owners hire me for coaching, I remind them that it is less about “Me, I, mine”, and more about “You, your, yours”. Most people have told me that when people talk too much about themselves in the initial meeting or interaction, they are either showing off, or are using ‘smoke and mirrors’. When you are asked to talk about yourself, then go ahead and respond, without going overboard.

3. Be authentically you – some people act like they are someone else when meeting or interacting with others for the first time. In his articles and interviews, Dr John Demartini often talks about being authentic. He says “imitation is suicide”. (He is quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson of course, who said “Envy is ignorance, and imitation is suicide”). Once again, if you are being authentic, you have got nothing to hide and you are more likely to come across as trustworthy and genuine. Isn’t that what most people want you to be anyway? So, think about, and focus on how you can be authentic and be remarkable at the same time. Earlier on in my sales career, I had a manager who always said to me “Ron, you must act confident when selling”. Thinking back, had he replaced the word “act” with the word “be”, it would’ve made a bigger positive impact on me!

4. Smile – a smile is a very effective way to get people to warm up to you! When you smile, you are sending positive energy to the person that you are smiling at. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute found that smiling builds trust (in other people)! How assuring is that? Something that I have observed as a public speaking coach is that when I ask new speakers to smile more, they appear less nervous. When you smile, you are more likely to be relaxed. And, when you are relaxed, you are more likely to be authentically you!

5. Respond appropriately and in context – when you are asked a question, don’t go off on a tangent. Use shorter sentences if you can. Shorter sentences are easier to comprehend. Tell people what they would want to hear, without the extra bits of information. Also, be careful not to be too closed off, and barely respond. The whole point of responding appropriately and in context is to give others the information they would like to have. In other words, you have to ‘hit the mark’ with your response.

6. Think long term – ask yourself “In a year’s time, how would I like this person or these people to remember me, or to think about me?” One thing that I have discovered is that people generally look for ways to back up their first impression of someone. So, think long term about the first impression that you want to create.

7. Leave them with something positive – say or do something good before you depart. The first impression is important, and so is the last piece of interaction with that person in the initial meeting. Yes, they will remember you for how you first came across. They will also remember you for how you left them. Thanking people for their time or for the chat is a positive way to end the interaction. Another way is to offer to keep in contact (if appropriate). Relationships expert Keith Leon encourages us to offer help/support to people at the end of an initial interaction. He suggests something along the lines of “If there is anything that I can do for you, please let me know”.

Now, there are a number of variables to consider while wanting to make a memorable first impression. First, if the person that you are engaging with is feeling down or upset, or is having a bad day, it can be an uphill battle to create a memorable first impression (unless you do something extraordinary to change their mood into a more positive one).

Also, people bring in their personal biases, and you have no control over that.

Last, some people are ever so suspicious that even if you engaged with them in a faithful manner, they still might think that you are either hiding something, or trying to sell them something, or that you are trying to take advantage of them. Once again, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about regarding this person’s opinion of you!

Quote: “Leave your 'stamp' on everything you do. Make yourself an icon to be admired and respected. Become an inspiration to others. So think carefully before you speak and act. Every action, every word carries a consequence. Create a genuineness about you that is addictive to all those who meet you. And finally, leave a mark on those you meet that couldn't have been left if you weren't in their lives.” Anonymous

I hope I have given you a better idea of how to create a remarkable first impression.

Inspiring you towards your excellence,
Ron Prasad (Author, Speaker, Life Coach & Executive Coach)

PS: To order my book, please go to www.WelcomeToYourLifeBook.com. For $19.95, you get the book, thousands of dollars in bonus gifts from some of the best personal development experts in the world (such as Bob Proctor, Marci Shimoff, Dr Joe Rubino), and you get to give back to the community by supporting my charity! I appreciate your support.

Author's Bio: 

Ronny Prasad is the author of WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE - simple insights for your inspiration & empowerment (www.WelcomeToYourLifeBook.com). He is also an inspired speaker who empowers his audience with his enthusiasm and energy. His passion is inspiring and fulfilling lives, and sharing his insights with people around the world. He actively supports animal charities in many countries.