The value of a good first impression cannot be overstated. Anyone who has had to go on a job interview or connect at a networking event, which is basically everyone, knows this. A first impression sets the stage for how people will perceive you from that moment forward. It makes the difference between struggling to earn people’s trust and having them give you the benefit of the doubt in everything. Here are a few tips for creating an instant connect and making a solid first impression.
Learn the Impact of Social Cues
Social cues and body language are the physical expression of what is happening on the inside of a person. We must be aware of these non-verbals and learn to read them well. These cues will help you identify if someone is interested in conversation or would rather be left alone. You need to learn the skill of reading and responding to this language so that you can appropriately handle each social situation that you’re in. If you can respond well to what you’re sensing then you will successfully be able to build a connection with just about anyone.
This always means that you need to be conscious of what your body language is saying. If you’re coming across as unconfident or disinterested, then you will quickly lose the opportunity for connection. Stand up straight and don’t disengage by acting fidgety or facing away from the person who is talking to you. Gesture that you’re tuned into the conversation by giving an occasional head nod and maintaining eye contact.
People engage in social interaction because they want validation and approval. Offer that to them. If you know they have a particular interest, ask them for advice about the particular topic and express interest. This will add value to them and show that you care. Additionally, find out what people do well and offer compliments. Point out their strengths and let them shine under the spotlight.
Be Question Driven
People are mostly selfishly motivated. One thing you can do to build a quick connection is to get them talking about themselves. Ask questions and then ask more questions. If you don’t know where the connection lies between you two, keep them talking until you hit a bullseye. Get them talking about their passion and they will have plenty to say. Eventually you will have something that you can chime in on. They will feel energized by the conversation and you will be associated with the positive feeling they leave the conversation with.