5 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR BEST FIRST IMPRESSION
How many times have you come away from a situation wishing you’d said this, or done that, instead of what you did say or do?
Hindsight – it’s a tricky customer isn’t it? Sometimes it works to our advantage, and it can be a great way of celebrating our achievements, documenting how far we’ve come and generally boosting our confidence. Most of the time, however, it serves to remind us of our ‘failures’, or the things we wished we’d done better or done more of. It tends to rear its head frequently after important first meetings such as job interviews, dates, or work sessions and make us feel inadequate, or frustrated at our inability to have the confidence we should, or always say the right thing.
I think we can all agree we’ve had a negative run in with hindsight, and we’ve all wished we could have a do-over, or another chance to make a better first impression. Well, on this occasion, our prayers might just have been answered.
Meet Lisa Jones. Qualified psychotherapist, experienced coach and all-round inspiration.
After a long and successful career, and many qualifications later, Lisa currently excels as a dedicated therapist and passionate trainer who is committed to teaching her clients the importance of their emotional wellbeing. So much so, she founded the brilliant HeadStrong Training in order to ensure she could continue to do this, and to equip all of her clients with the tools they need to go forward into the world and deal with their everyday stressors. Lisa focuses greatly on the mind-body connection through her work, and highlights the importance that our self-talk and belief system can have on our overall wellbeing.
We were so intrigued by this that we simply had to pick her brains – and in what better way than to ask her to give us some much needed tips on how we can all go into new situations feeling confident we’re making our very BEST first impression, and reduce the stress of feeling like we’re not being who we really are.
Take it away, Lisa…
How long does it take to make a first impression? Well, it depends on who you ask. Research on this subject varies and tells us that it can take just 1 tenth of a second up to 30 seconds to form an impression of somebody. On average though, it is most commonly accepted that seven seconds is how long we have to make that all important first impression. Seven seconds might not seem like much but it’s amazing how much you can do in that time when you know how.
First things first, know what impression you want to give! Generally, we always want to make a good first impression but how you want to come across on a first date might be very different to the impression you want to make walking into a meeting to pitch your latest idea. Think about your audience, how do you want them to respond to you? We now meet a lot of people for the first time online which changes things somewhat, however, there are some fundamentals that will serve you in any situation.
This is the most basic yet least talked about tip to make your best first impression. Feeling nervous? Excited? Worrying about what might go wrong? Playing scenarios in your head? STOP and breathe. Give yourself a moment before you walk into the room or switch the camera on to just breathe. Take a deep, measured breath in feeling your lungs fill up then exhale fully. Repeat at least three times and on the last exhale tell yourself that you’ve got this!
2. Look the part.
Now I hate to admit this, but the reality is that people notice how you look first and by this, I mean how ‘tidy’ or ‘put together’ someone is. Unbrushed hair, lipstick on your teeth, buttons missing from your shirt? Not going to leave a good first impression. Now of course this is also context dependent so it’s important to dress appropriately for the situation, but what we wear makes a statement about us.
This is probably the most obvious of them all and it’s amazing how many people forget to smile. Smiling is not only a universal sign of welcome, it’s contagious! It also lifts someone’s mood. Try it now, smile and notice how you feel. No one loves a fake smile though as it comes off as insincere and creepy, so top tip, listen to your favourite song before you meet someone or think of something that makes you laugh ensuring your smile is genuine.
4. Put your best foot forward!
Whether you are online or walking into a room, hold your head up and put your shoulders back. This will instantly give you a lift and a sense of confidence!
5. Be you.
I am a huge advocate for being our authentic selves – within the context of course. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and behave appropriately but you can still be you. People warm to people who are genuine – so be confidently you.
There are many more tips and tricks that will help you make the best first impression but remember that we are all human. We all trip over our words at times, we’ve all spilt coffee down our top and tripped over our own feet. The best advice I can give you is simply to laugh and style it out.
Written by Lisa Jones, HeadStrong Training
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