When it comes to making a good impression, you won't always have a second chance, which is why it's important to make your first meeting a memorable one. Feel the pressure? Since we tend to overthink how others perceive us enough as it is, it's also reassuring to remember that the best thing you can do is be yourself. Authenticity is key; otherwise, we run the risk of coming off as phony or presenting ourselves inaccurately. Still, learning how to introduce yourself is a valuable skill to have in your social and professional toolkit.
Recently, Inc. reviewed a few creative ways to introduce yourself so you can find the fine line between coming on too strong and taking a creative and calculated approach toward making yourself stand out—in a good way (and just in time for the rush of holiday cocktail parties and family gatherings). Whether you feel like refreshing your social skills or practicing your introduction in the mirror, the easy tricks below will help you make a successful impression the first time around.
Dress the Part
You'll put yourself in a better position off the bat with an appropriate appearance for the occasion. (Not to be confused with dressing to impress.) This doesn't mean flashy and expensive clothing or accessories—the goal is for your attire to suit the situation. Erring on the conservative side is usually best when outfitting yourself for an introduction.
Make Note of Names
We're guessing you'd be impressed if someone used your name in conversation upon first meeting you. It goes both ways. Make a mental note of the person's name when they make their introduction, and be sure to address them by it while conversing. This shows you're interested and attentive. It will also help you remember their name in the future.
Exude Comfortable Confidence
Notice we used the word "comfortable," which means showing someone you're comfortable in your own skin and not too nervous to hold a conversation. It doesn't mean seeming overwhelmingly sure of yourself. Remember, arrogance isn't approachable.
Don't Forget to Smile
This one is easy. A relaxed smile will put both you and the person you're meeting at ease from the start. A polite smile also projects positivity, which naturally draws others in. Just don't overdo it with an ear-to-ear grin like the one you'd find on your favorite character at the theme park.
Learn by Listening
You'll find out a lot more about someone if you take in what they're saying, and in turn, you will be able to build an intelligent rapport. If you're speaking out of turn, it's easy to lose context in the conversation, and you'll find yourself left with awkward breaks of silence. You already know all about yourself, so take the time to get to know other people.
Be Interested and Interesting
When it comes to first impressions, it's really important to remember that it's a two-way street. You can take an interest in the person you're meeting while still sharing relevant and interesting information about yourself. Even if you know nothing about the topic of conversation, showing interest is the best way to keep the dialogue on course.
Helping Never Hurts
There's no better way to make a good impression than by helping someone upon meeting them. If you can provide information, directions, or even some plain old company, you might find that it's the best way to make a positive impact from the get-go.
What do you think it takes to make a good impression? Let us know how you introduce yourself for a strong first impression in the comments below.
This post was originally published on March 1, 2016, and has since been updated by Hadley Mendelsohn.