First impressions are everything.
It takes almost no time for someone to form an opinion about your entire being. We’re wired to consume as much information as possible up first meetings. It’s just how we roll as humans. There are probably things people have judged you for upon first impression that you didn’t even realize were issues.
Don’t let those thoughts consume you, though; you can’t take those moments back now. Just resolve to try harder going forward. Here are some things to think about before your next date or meeting.
Those fingernails: Keep them trimmed and well-groomed. Plain and simple. Even if you’re not blatantly biting them during an introduction or dinner, people notice how well manicured your fingernails are. Break the habit of biting them at all, and rest easy during that next handshake or dinner reservation.
Monitor your speaking voice: Obviously, your voice is your voice, you can’t necessarily change it. You can, however, monitor how loudly you are speaking. Speak too loud, and you will get that “know-it-all” vibe, too softly and people will assume you lack confidence.
Eye contact: Just like speaking too softly, avoiding eye contact can be a taken as a sign of low confidence. If staring into another person’s eyes makes you uncomfortable, try focus on the point between their eyebrows, or on their chin.
No gum: Or any kind of edible snack for that matter, unless you’re at a dinner or luncheon. It can come off as rude to some people.
Promptness: You don’t want to make the person you’re meeting wait for you. It shows a lack of time management skills, and it can easily appear like you don’t value the meeting.
Complaining: You don’t want to come off as a whiner. Obviously, there is a time and place for complaining, it’s not always a bad thing, but try not to complain about off-topic subjects, such as a bad waiter or hotel accommodations.
An air of nonchalance: People are judging you for how involved you are in a conversation. Smiling and questions equals interest, while a strong slouch and pursed lip comes off as uncaring.
It’s impossible to know what people are going to judge you for upon meeting them. Everyone appraises characteristics in their own way, no two people are alike. However, there are some general things to keep in mind when meeting someone for the first time. The seven listed above are simply a good start. Your posture communicates a lot, as does your smile and your clothing. Dressing appropriately for the occasion is paramount when meeting or introducing yourself to someone.
There is one thing that people always look for, and that’s your confidence level. You should remain confident regardless of the scenario. Confidence will help carry you through almost any situation in a positive light.