The author holds a Master's in Engineering (Construction Management). Also, UPSC aspirant.
'First impression is last impression'
This is a common quote that most of us must have heard multiple times.
So, what exactly is this 'first impression'?
Psychologically, people tend to judge others when they meet for the first time. It creates an image, sub-consciously. This image is based on every single noticeable detail of one's social interaction; this is not just how you look or what you speak, but even includes the way you communicate, your opinions, your body language and many other factors.
No matter what type of relationship, personal or professional, you are trying to build, your image decides an approach a person tends to take everytime to deal with you thereon.
So here's the secret, a list of few very essential personality traits those will help you cast an ever lasting first impression. They worked for me and many others, and am sure, will work for you too!
1. What to wear!
Yes, clothes do matter. This forms a basic sense of what and where to wear. Now, I'm not advising here that you need expensive, glamorous wardrobe for each and every social congregation; in fact, that must be avoided. You must wear something decent, depending on the occasion. Keep it comfortable. Attires (clothes) don't play more than just to help you submerge in the occasion. You don't want to stand out when it comes to clothes just blend in.
2. Stay calm.
When you enter a gathering, speak, or move, don't rush. Be calm and smooth in your actions. The one who rushes is perceived to be anxious or easily excited (remember Mr Bean?). Calmness is an attribute of strength and a sign of authority. That doesn't mean you'll act lazy or stay silent. Be sagacious, but calm. Practise your movement and speech. Once mastered, it attracts people subconsciously.
3. Smile, It's Free
It's a proven fact that humans are generally attracted towards smile and happiness. We all do, consciously or subconsciously. A smile is the best device to imply that you are a welcoming person. It increases the possibility of interactions manifolds. So smile. Although it's really important to emanate a warm smile instead of a fake and creepy smile. Just like the babies do, a smile must be genuine. Such smile radiates sense of happiness and pleasure. It does take time to shift from fake to genuine smiles, but with regular practise you'll master this critical art. Use mirror daily for 5 minutes. Mirrors make wonders!
4. The Body Language
Your body language defines what kind of thoughts you carry - confident, timid, sly, arrogant, etc. You stand or you sit, your posture speaks your mind. Few of the tips are mentioned for starters.
- Straight back. Best posture would be an upright one. Your shoulders mustn't be bulging out but mannered. Avoid sitting or standing with rounded backs. Be comfortable and upright.
- Stand comfortably. Stand with feet apart, equivalent to the width of shoulders. Don't place them too wide, which may seem rude.
- Gestures. Use hand gestures to support your vocals. They'll keep people engaged. Again, don't overdo or your words will fade behind the gestures.
- Straight neck. Don't tilt sideways or shove your head towards the other person while talking. A slight leaning your neck towards the people, to express that you are attentive, is good though.
This may seem tiresome initially, but with practise it becomes a part of your personality in no time. Your posture communicates directly about your self-confidence, thoughts, and manners. Notice your favorite movie star, how they look and behave, even off-screen.
5. Communication Skills
This can be broadly understood and summed up through following points.
- Talkativeness: Speaking nothing isn't really cool, and speaking a lot isn't a sign of confidence. First listen and understand before you speak. Take your time. Use pauses if you have to. Never put out everything that strikes your head.
- Value Words: Always be humble, don't talk egotistically or out of context. Tongue is a double-edged sword.
- Be Audible, Don't Yell: What you speak matters a little, how you speak matters the most. You don't want to startle the audience, breaking the threshold of voice level. On the other hand, don't be so low that your words are heard like whispers! Be loud enough that you are audible to a person 3 feet apart, not beyond (in conversation).
- Respect Opinion: Don't ever get offended to one's opinion. Even if you are right, never argue with someone you are meeting for the very first time (though this must be followed every time). People must talk positively of you, if anything, to the next person they meet.
- Additives: Fill your conversations with smiles, little humour (again based on occasion), and attentiveness, importantly if you don't have idea about the subject. People want good experiences. Your interaction must give them that.
All these are skills. Skills can be developed with practise.
Casting a strong impression is an art. Once you master it, it makes wonders. Remember that, skills in social or professional interactions are as crucial as, if not more, your academic skills and knowledge.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Junaid Shah Diwan