1. Consider your own body language
Studies have shown most of a first impression comes down to body language and appearance. Yep, what you say matters least.
Dress well. Show up on time. Give eye contact. Stand straight. Don’t forget to show your winning smile.
2. Look for non-verbal cues
If you are approaching a stranger to network or ask a question, read them for non-verbal cues first. Does the person you want to speak to appear ready? What is their body language telling you? Are they closed off or open and ready to converse?
No one wants to shake hands with a floppy wet fish. Make sure your handshake is firm, confident and your hands are dry. That said, don’t do a Trump and definitely respect people’s boundaries.
4. Do research
If you know who you are meeting with, do some research and have some questions formed in your mind. It will make small talk so much easier and help you forge a strong connection.
5. Listen. Really listen.
A great first impression means engaging with the other person and listening with your whole self. If you are actively listening, you will be able to form intelligent responses and questions.
6. Be yourself
Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. Have confidence in presenting the best version of you.