Mind & Body

To Make a Great First Impression, Keep One Thing in Mind

They say first impressions are everything. While that's a bit of an overstatement, a good initial meeting with a new person is pretty important. And if you've ever accidentally said something weird or unintentionally acted kind of oddly around someone new, you know first impressions aren't the easiest things to nail every time. But there's a little hack that will help you nail it every time.

They'll Like Me, They'll Really Like Me!

You don't have a lot of time to make your first impression awesome — people decide if someone's trustworthy within less than a second of meeting them. And if your first impression isn't great? Well, that will really stick with 'em. You probably know the oft-repeated advice to follow when meeting new people: smile, stand up straight, make eye contact, ask them questions about themselves, and be a good listener. You know these things. While it looks easy on paper, these many elements may be difficult to juggle all at once when a new person pops up in front of you.

According to a 2009 study from the University of Waterloo, there is one thing you can keep in mind above all else to help you make a great impression and get the people you meet to like you right away. If you go into an encounter with a new person thinking that person will like you, they probably will. Ta-da! Ah, the power of self-confidence.

Anticipating someone is going to like you can act as a self-fulfilling prophecy. As the authors explain, "If people expect acceptance, they will behave warmly, which in turn will lead other people to accept them; if they expect rejection, they will behave coldly, which will lead to less acceptance."

Talk It Out

While that's all good, it's no small feat to truly believe that everyone you meet is going to think you're super awesome. Heck, sometimes it can even be hard to think it about yourself. One way to help boost your confidence is with a little positive self-talk — things like "They're going to really like me!". A 2015 study published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology found that self-affirmations really do have the power to calm your jitters and boost your confidence.

Angie Morgan, a co-founder of a leadership consulting firm and co-author of "SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success," tells Fast Company, "Confidence isn't a skill, it's an emotion. You can manage it. In fact, unpacking your confidence is a part of self-efficacy." Regarding positive self-talk specifically, Morgan says, "Our words run through our brains reckless and unchecked. Get rid of thoughts like, 'I'm lucky to be here' and 'I hope I do well.' Instead, say to yourself, '[Confidence] is a thing, and I can manage it.'" You've got this.

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Want to nail every first impression? Check out Dale Carnegie's famous book "How to Win Friends & Influence People." We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. The audiobook is free with a trial of Audible. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Joanie Faletto May 24, 2018

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