Admit it: You judge people. Whether it’s the new guy in the cubicle next to you, the girl you always see on the phone in the hallway or the person at the coffee counter, we attach a fast glimpse at someone’s behavior to an impression, good or bad. And you’re lying to yourself if you think other people aren’t doing the same to you.
So what do other people think of you? Do they like you as soon as they meet you? We asked the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), “What is your No. 1 tip for making a great impression?” Here are their suggestions… and we suggest you try them:
Simply smiling can be one of the best ways to make a good impression on anyone. If you enter a situation without one, it could put a negative impression on a potentially difficult situation. And smiling just makes you feel happier and releases bad emotions.
—John Rampton, JohnRampton.com
2. Be present.
Stop your mind chatter. Put down your phone. Listen. Give yourself 100 percent to that other person and chances are you will make a good impression. Your presence is the greatest gift you can offer another human being.
—Corey Blake, Round Table Companies
3. Be on time.
Punctuality is crucial, especially in today’s business world where everyone is ultra-busy and their patience is extremely thin. Ever wait a few minutes for someone to join a conference call? I bet it seemed like an eternity. Probably one in which your opinion of the late arrival dropped considerably. So show respect and consideration by arriving on time.
—Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net
4. Be authentic.
Being yourself is the first way to positively kick-start a new relationship. People can tell if you’re not authentic and, more so, it’s no fun for you to try to be something you’re not. Don’t try to be the person you think your audience wants to meet, rather than giving them a chance to get to know your true self first.
—Darrah Brustein, Network Under 40 / Finance Whiz Kids
5. Make eye contact.
Often people become overeager to make a good impression and forget to balance the conversation. Rattling on and on about yourself will only leave the other party feeling disenchanted and undervalued. Concentrate on the person in front of you and ask thoughtful questions that engage the other person.
—Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR
6. Show confident body language.
Over 70 percent of what we say is nonverbal. Stand your ground with confident body language, your back erect and your shoulders square. Move slowly, smoothly and confidently as if you’re swimming through a pool. When someone beckons you, turn your head slowly and make direct eye contact. These things imply that you’re someone who takes himself seriously and is confident in your abilities—traits everyone likes to see.
—Brennan White, Cortex
7. Ask questions that show you’re listening.
The No. 1 thing people like to talk about? Themselves. Make sure to ask questions that indicate you’re interested and that you’re listening. That person will do 95 percent of the talking and will only remember what a great conversation you had.
—Adam Stillman, SparkReel
8. Do not look at your phone.
During the first 10 minutes of meeting someone, do not pull your phone out and look at it. Focus on staying present within the conversation, no matter what life or work distractions might be vibrating in your pocket. Being perceived as disorientated, distracted or—worse—disinterested, not only makes for a bad impression, but it can create a halo effect of how others view your business practices.
—Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
9. Show sincere interest in other people.
In business most people assume that we are constantly looking for an angle. In reality most business relationships that last are made by simply being sincere in your interactions. The best way to show sincere interest in other people is to come to terms with the reality that everyone has something unique to offer.
—Rahim Charania, American Fueling Systems
10. Exude overt warmth.
Whenever I would have a home-cooked meal at my grandmother’s house, I would always leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling of comfort that made me believe everything was going to be OK. By exuding that feeling through being exceedingly kind, staying ultra-engaged in what the other person is saying and staying authentic, you will be seen as a trustworthy and all-around good person.
—Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.