Master the art of a first impression

Written by
Charlie Walker-Wise

12 Sep 2017

12 Sep 2017 • by Charlie Walker-Wise

Mumbled introductions, poor eye-contact, shuffling feet and a general lack of focus are common ways that we experience people at work.

Whether we’re seeing someone step on a stage to deliver a conference speech or we’re meeting them face to face, our first impression of them tells us how we feel about them. It’s the “feel” that matters, because even if we credit ourselves with being rational decision makers, our emotions dictate the basis of our judgement. 

Here are five top tips to get you started on improving your initial impact:

5 ways to improve your impact

1. Use the space. Before you walk into a room or out on a stage for the first time, make sure you use your peripheral vision to full effect. You will feel better and your audience will see that you are engaged and available to them.
2. Ground yourself. You need a solid base to operate from. Plant your feet on the floor and try to ensure your weight is evenly distributed across both feet. This avoids looking like you’re ‘‘on the back foot’’. 
3. Look at people. Some people find meaningful eye contact too awkward or intimate, however there is research to show that eye contact is associated with trust, so while you don’t need to ‘‘gaze deeply’’ into their eyes, it’s vital to connect with them.
4. Keep breathing. This sounds obvious but when we are anxious or nervous, we stop breathing. The key is not to breathe in, but rather to breathe out. Get rid of the stressed air and the tension associated with it, and make room for a new breath and a new energy.
5. Pause more. Create time for others to digest what you’re telling them. Nerves make us rush and this can lead to others feeling hurried too. Let people know that what you have