How to Make a Great First Impression?

How to make a great first impression? Easy image consulting tips from Jenni at I on Image
How to make a great first impression? – Photo credits: Day In My Dreams and Jealous Weekends at Unsplash

How To Make A Great First Impression?

Do you know how to make a great first impression? In this blog post I am explaining in detail where to start and how to advance your skills even further. Profit from my easy to implement image consulting tips + Grab your FREE checklist at the end of this article. This way you will be ready to slay in any situation.

KEEP IN MIND: Most of these tips apply also in online situations. So much is happening nowadays online that no image consulting advice can be given without having the digital aspect in mind. Your online personal brand should be seamlessly connected to your face to face personal brand. Too big discrepancies will only cause confusion.

The Science Of First Impressions

I find the whole science of first impressions so fascinating. When a person meets you for the first time their brain makes several snap decisions about you in just 7 seconds. Actually it takes only a tenth of a second to decide if the person is trustworthy but as long as 30 seconds to make judgements of a persons attractiveness and intelligence.

However a myriad of other decisions are made within 7 seconds, such as judgements about your age, competence, education level, lifestyle, income, social class, to mention a few. I find this quite specific! How about you?

  • Age
  • Status
  • Social class
  • Likeability
  • Competitiveness
  • Education level
  • Wealth
  • Health

The purpose of these snap judgements is explained in human evolution. In the time of cavemen making fast decisions was life preserving. Our ancestors needed to know whether they were facing an ally or an enemy. In the latter case a swift escape was necessary and for that reason early humans evolved to be good at judging character.

We have come a long way since those times but the way our brain works in new situation remains somewhat the same. We no longer need to fight for our lives the same way our ancestors did but we still reach for similarity and trust.

What if you get a bad start with someone? They will probably not like you as much, trust you as good or respect you the same. It’s unfair but it’s not the end of the world. We can work our way out of a bad first impression but, as it is with so many other things, it takes a lot more energy and time than just to make it right the first time.

To help you understand why your image matters and to help you make a great first impression, I made this collection of comprehensive image consulting tips. They will help you take your personal brand on a next level that exudes confidence and professionalism. That’s comforting thought, isn’t it?

How To Improve Your Personal Image On The Spot

1. Be Nice

Smile. People who smile appear more likeable and trustworthy than their poker-faced or grumpy counterparts. Don’t over-do it though. This means no grinning, no awkward or non-genuine smiles. Those make people feel uncomfortable because they detect fake from a mile away.

Make it all about the other person. Ask questions and let people tell about themselves. Remember that life rarely is about you but about the way you interact with others. While others talk, you can take your time to think what you really want to say. This way of communicating is helpful for shy or introverted people.

Polish your communication skills and make the learning process your top priority. Good communications skills are essential and they help you a long way. People will remember how you made them feel. Kindness is a deeply underrated form of art. Work on your listening skills to perfect this. I can guarantee that it will make you more likeable!

2. Be Professional

Be mindful about your body language because it’s an important form on non-verbal communication. Keep a good posture and resist the urge to cross your arms or legs. Keep your hands visible, unless you want people to think that you have something to hide.

Offer a firm handshake. Make it last about 3-4 seconds because you want to engage with people without appearing creepy. At this point you have already made a first impression and people have not even heard you speak yet!

Use clear and professional language online and in face-to-face situations. Stick to the point and respect other people’s time. This doesn’t mean that you need to be short but not everyone has to hear everything about you.

Avoid using fillers such as um, ah and like in your speech because they show immaturity and hesitation. Adobe’s 2022 Emoji Report show that using emojis will make you more likeable but I still advice to use them sparingly. Overusing those cute little or getting way too personal might work in your disadvantage.

Social media is a great place to get to know people before you actually meet them. Just be aware that other will be doing the same so make sure that you too are making a good first impression throughout your social media. Work on your online presence to create a stellar online you.

3. Look The Part

Dressing for the part sounds easy but is it really that simple? People have expectations of you and your job is to deliver those expectations. Looking frumpy, dirty or un-kept is unprofessional but it can also be perceived as rude. A polished look Your appearance will take you a long way, even if you don’t want to admit it.

Maintain good personal hygiene. I can’t stress enough the importance of this! There is simply no excuse to neglect your personal hygiene in any possible situation. When it comes to style, people often think that you need a flashy and expensive wardrobe to be successful. I disagree because often just neat, clean and authentic goes a long way.

Style doesn’t come naturally to everyone and it’s perfectly fine. Don’t be afraid to use personal styling services to take your style to the next level. The most successful people in the world are open about their challenges and they know when to hire help.

Your personal style is no exception and I am always here for you. My virtual styling services are available around the world with flexible times. Many happy clients have discovered and unleashed their signature style with me. Are you next?

Join 2,126 other subscribers.

4. Don’t Be Creepy

This is a weird one but I had to add it. I hear too many times that some people have a habit of making others feel uncomfortable. That can seriously hinder your success in life and we definitely don’t want that, even if it’s unknowingly. The key here is to still remain authentic but to gain an understanding of things that might make other people perceive you as “creepy”.

I always advice maintaining a normal eye contact throughout the conversation. Under no circumstances stare at people or size them up. Losing eye contact mid-conversation implies that the other person is making you bored or that you have something more important in your mind.

Avoid at all cost sizing up people from head to toe, peeking at cleavages, or letting your mind wander while looking at someone. It’s creepy, rude and condescending. Allow people to have their personal space. In general people feel uncomfortable when someone in breathing down their neck or being too close.

Be aware of your nervous tics such as drumming, scratching yourself, clicking your knuckles, playing with your hair etc. They make you appear awkward and uncomfortable, which may make other people feel uncomfortable too.

5. Don’t Be Rude

Learn to control your facial expressions. Avoid squinting your eyes, wrinkling your nose and keep your mouth closed when you are not talking. Use confident, friendly and positive language. Don’t put people unnecessarily on the spot and solve your conflicts privately. Try to remain professional also in difficult situations.

Treat everyone with the same respect you’d like yourself to be treated with. This applies to interns, receptionists, cleaners, delivery personnel, hospitality staff and maintenance. Remember to say please and thank you. Many people find being rude to staff a huge turn off in dating but the same applies professional situations. Nobody likes a cocky bully or a rude self-entitled person. Genuine kindness and compassion is always in style!

Have an upbeat attitude in general. Don’t drag your feet or bother other people with your problems. Nobody’s life is perfect and you never know what the other person is going through. So avoid coming across too cold or harsh. The old saying goes that if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all.

Let your energy and zest for life be contagious!

Learn How To Make A Great First Impression In Any Situation

A professional image consultant can help you become your best-self. Let me know how I can help you make a great first impression. I would love to help you to put your best foot forward and have better opportunities in life.

All my personal image & style improving services are now available as virtual sessions. Learn more about my online image consulting services and make your appointment today.

BONUS TIP: Access a FREE catalogue of professional image consulting resources and follow my dedicated Pinterest board: Image Consultant – Amsterdam & Online

This article was originally published on 6th February 2018 and updated on 3rd November 2022

Jenni @ I on Image - Content Creator Fuelled by Fashion

28 thoughts on “How to Make a Great First Impression?

  1. Charity says:

    These are all such great tips on how to make a great first impression. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. I on Image says:

    Thank you for sharing your thought Ming! Indeed smile is a great way to make a connection and to check how the other person is responding to your presence.

  3. Ming Qian says:

    I find smiling one of the easiest and most effective ways to get a stranger to warm up to me. A smile hides all the apprehension and nervousness I feel inside. Thanks for sharing these other tips as well! 🙂

  4. I on Image says:

    Thank you so much for mentioning my blog! I really appreciate it and I enjoyed reading your blog too. – Jenni at I on Image

  5. I on Image says:

    Lol, not that explicit but the small things that make your skin crawl but don’t qualify yet as sexual harassment or stalking.

  6. I on Image says:

    Hahaha, there’s a big difference between social and creepy. Sadly every single woman who I know, can tell that difference from personal experience 🙁

  7. The Phat Girl Blog says:

    Don’t be creepy? …. but that’s all the tricks in my basket. Bahaha. Jk I’m just extremely “social”. At least that’s how my doctor describes me :-p

  8. I on Image says:

    It’s quote something indeed. But I advice my clients not be limited by this knowledge. There are so many layers of our image and personality and finding your tribe takes time and effort anyway. Main thing is to be aware of it and to try to use it in your advantage -without compromising your authenticity.

  9. glowsteady says:

    That figure about making a snap judgement in 7 seconds always blows my mind. So quick! I totally agree that you should always try to be professional and look well presented. It’s a tough one when we all perceive things slightly differently though x


  10. I on Image says:

    Glad to hear that this inspired you Lisa! Sure go ahead and link my post to yours. Drop your link here when it’s ready so everyone here can see it in case the pingback doesn’t come through immediately. Have a great weekend!

  11. Lisa says:

    Amazing post! And don’t be creepy made me chuckle haha. Would you mind if I link to your article in an article of my own? It’ll be published in about 2 weeks.

  12. Nancy says:

    I love all of these tips on giving a great first impression. It is so important to be nice and professional. I’ve gotten a bad first impression because someone wasn’t professional. That was tough to break! I agree on not being rude either. Thanks for sharing all of these points!

    Nancy ♥

  13. I on Image says:

    I know Lisa! The temptation to jump over the line is right there before our eyes and we might not be in the strongest mindset right now either. Hope this guide helps people to manage their image better even during a crisis.

  14. Lisa's Notebook says:

    Great tips, Jenni, so helpful. I know we’re all social distancing now anyway, but the issue of personal space is one that I don’t think can be overstated! 🙂 xx

  15. Quinn of the Nerds says:

    All these things are so important. One thing I love is when people are just themselves, I know it sounds like such a common sense thing! I’ve had many an occasion where another person has said certain things because they think it’s something I want to hear, instead of just being natural. Let the real you shine through always :-).

    Thank you for another lovely blog!

    Quinn x

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