How to Make a Good First Impression | Reader's Digest

How to Make a Good First Impression

When meeting a new person, each second counts towards making a good impression.

from Reader's Digest | March 2004

To increase your odds of making a good first impression, Ann Demarais offers these tips:

1. Make eye contact at least half to two-thirds of the time (any more than this and you may come on too strong). And pay attention to your body language. Lean toward others when they speak. Nod every now and then.

2. Smile, even if you aren’t in the mood. “We actually encourage our clients to fake it,” says Demarais. “It’s a gift of social generosity, with a payback.” Just going through the motions of showing some teeth may make you — and others — feel better, says the research.

3. Be careful about “oversharing,” i.e., disclosing too much personal information about yourself. Keep it light. Keep it positive. No one — repeat — no one will be interested in your gallbladder operation.

4. Try a little flattery. People warm to others who pay them compliments even if they know they’re false, studies show. “But it’s best when done sincerely,” stresses Demarais.

5. Got a prepared opening line as an icebreaker? Ditch it, or you risk coming across as shallow, aggressive and calculating.

6. Check your impulse to use the other person’s name repeatedly. Once or twice might work, but overplaying the name game can make you seem “salesy” and forced.

7. Think a neutral, inscrutable style makes you appear thoughtful, deep or cool? Forget it. Aloof behavior like kicking back at the table, crossing your arms or showing zero emotion makes you look bored or arrogant.