Your network is your net worth.
I’m sure you have heard this statement before. Even though it’s cliché, it teaches a valuable lesson: Your success depends on how well you can connect and communicate with others.
You must deal with people in your daily life whether you like it or not. Understand that people are here to stay. You can only avoid them entirely if you live alone in a jungle.
That’s not possible.
The better you can connect with others, the more advantage you have in achieving success.
Building better relationships and connections starts with making a first impression. When you meet someone for the first time, how you portray yourself determines your ability to connect with them.
Here are ten ways you can make a first impression:
1 — Smile
Your smile is powerful. It creates a friendly atmosphere and shows you are approachable and open.
“A smile, someone once said, costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.”
— Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Learn to smile more, and people will treat you generously.
2 — Dress well
When you meet someone for the first time, they observe your external appearance. If you are dressed wrongly, it automatically sends a negative persona to them.
Dressing well doesn’t mean wearing expensive and branded clothing. Aim for a basic, minimal outfit that makes you look good.
Look up the internet for some fashion advice. You can also ask a friend to help you out.
3 — Maintain good hygiene
You must maintain good personal hygiene. Make sure you smell good, care for your grooming, practice skin care, and exercise regularly.
People can observe and sense it if you don’t care for their hygiene. You wouldn’t want to leave a negative impression.
4 — Eye contact
Like a smile, maintaining eye contact shows confidence. It means you are paying attention to the other person.
Look into people’s eyes during the conversation. It shows you are actively listening to what they are saying.
However, make sure you don’t give an intense stare, which might make them uncomfortable. Be calm and make it seem natural.
5 — Body language
Your body language shows how you are feeling. So ensure you have a straight back, maintain eye contact, and offer a firm handshake.
Hold your head up, avoid crossing your arms and legs, and never put your hands inside your pockets during the conversation.
It’s good to use hand gestures when you speak. It shows that you are open and inviting. You can also communicate your thoughts properly by using gestures.
6 — Listen attentively
Nobody likes it when you ignore what they are saying.
Be genuinely interested in what the person is saying. Let them speak more on the topic. It is one of the best practices for better communication.
“Remember, human beings are innately selfish beings. They are first, last and always interested in themselves, in their job, their family, their home town, their ideas. Even a question like, “Where are you from?” shows that you are interested in the other person, and consequently gets him interested in you.”
― Leslie T. Giblin, How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People
7 — Be authentic
Don’t try to be someone you are not. Even though it might work at first, it won’t last. People can notice it when you are being fake and talking nonsense.
Be genuine to yourself. Authenticity is often appreciated and respected.
8 — Show empathy
The best way to make a good impression is to see things from the other person’s perspective. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how they feel.
Don’t judge them. Instead, be considerate of their feelings and perspectives.
Showing empathy can help you build a better connection and long-lasting relationship with others.
9 — Research before and follow up later
Preparing in advance is good when you know you are meeting someone. Research and gather information about them.
People often appreciate and respect this gesture. You will also know what topics to discuss if you know what interests them beforehand.
After meeting them for the first time, it’s good to send them a message and show gratitude. You can also express how positive you felt after meeting them.
10 — Be respectful
Treat people with respect and kindness. It’s not right to show biased behavior. People’s status or position should not influence how you behave towards them.
Give respect, and you will get it back from others.
Start implementing these practices to make a good impression on others.
You will learn more by putting them to use. So, remember these points the next time you meet someone.
It doesn’t have to be someone you meet for the first time. You can also apply these practices to someone you already know.
The more you practice, the better you become.
(This article was originally published on Medium.com.)