How to Make a Good First Impression

You have a very narrow window of opportunity to make a first impression. Make it count.

  1. Good manners are an investment in yourself.
  2. When you meet someone, stand (if seated), make eye contact, shake his or her hand, smile and say hello.
  3. The hand shake should end after two or three pumps from the elbow but the smile and eye contact remain until the introduction is complete.
  4. At a function, wear your name tag on the right because the majority of people are right handed. When they reach to shake your hand their eyes will automatically glance at the name tag.
  5. Most communication is seen and not heard. Know your personal habits and nonverbal communication gestures and learn to control them.
  6. A formal event dictates that a dress jacket and tie are required.
  7. Standing when you meet someone is a way of communicating that you respect them, recognize their status and are interested in the introduction. If you are seated, rise and come out from behind to greet them.
  8. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. It is considered very bad manners to break eye contact during a conversation. That being said, don't stare at them, shift your view to the person's eyebrows after a few seconds. Hold eye contact long enough so you remember their eye color.
  9. In a social situation/opportunity to schmooze you're far better off making a few solid memorable contacts than trying to collect as many business cards as you can. Sincerity is the key to good schmoozing.
  10. You have a maximum of 60 seconds to make a first impression. Make it count.