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8 Proven Ways to Make a Good First Impression

Want to be more memorable? These tips will help you have a lasting connection with anyone you meet.

iStock/Martin Dimitrov

Dress to impress

What you wear can indicate a lot about yourself to a new person. Make sure you feel comfortable and confident in whatever your wear, as this will positively affect your mood. Wearing something that makes a statement can also lead to a conversation starter. These subtle fashion tips can make you look expensive.



Psychologist James McConnell, who wrote the book Understanding Human Behavior, put it simply: “People who smile tend to manage and sell more effectively, and raise happier children.” Your facial expression is typically the first aspect someone notices about you when they make an initial judgement, and it’s important to appear both happy and engaged. In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said: “You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.” Check out these tips to be the most interesting person in the room.


Remember names

Dale Carnegie also writes in his book, “We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realize that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing and nobody else.” In other words: People love to hear their names. We are so inundated with names and information that remembering someone’s name and working it into a conversation goes a long way. Here are simple tricks to never forget someone’s name.


Think about your intentions

What are your goals are in making this impression? Do you want to make a new friend? Network? Strike a business deal? A clear set of intentions can help you figure out what kind of energy you want to give off during the interaction. Know what kind of information you want to share about your self in each circumstance. Remember to be sincere no matter what you’re discussing. These are signs you’re an extraordinarily empathetic person.


Show genuine interest

Famous magician Howard Thurston never went on stage without repeating this mantra to himself: “I am grateful because these people come to see me. I’m going to give them the best I possibly can. I love my audience.” Though most people aren’t planning on dazzling an audience with a magic show any time soon, the takeaway here is that you can make a good first impression if you are excited and genuinely interested in the person or people you are trying to connect with. Listen intently, ask questions, and encourage others to talk about their experiences. In doing so, you will have more in depth and more memorable conversations. These magic phrases can save any awkward conversation.


Pay attention to your body language

Research shows that 60 to 90 percent of communication with others is nonverbal, so when meeting someone for the first time it is essential to pay attention to your body language. Keep your posture upright and relaxed, lean in to show others you are listening to them, and feel free to gesture with your hands as you speak (this has actually been shown to improve your thinking process). When in doubt, take cues from the other person’s body language. Check out some other meaningful ways to use body language.


Make an effort to be thoughtful

It is often said that actions speak louder than words. Going out of your way to do something kind or thoughtful, especially for someone you don’t know well, can ensure that you make a lasting impression. These are little things you can do to be nicer to anyone.


Snap out of a bad mood

It can be hard not to let a bad mood affect how you come off to other people. If you’ve had a bad day, maybe skip the evening’s social activities. Or shake it off by listening to some music or watching a funny video. Your attitude rubs off on other people whether you intend it to or not, so it’s important to bring a positive attitude to any interaction with others.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest