Tips For Improving Your Social Interactions
First impressions are proven to matter, so make the most of these tips to perfect your networking.
You may be aware of the importance of the first impression – the idea being that someone can instantly form an opinion of you within just a few seconds of an initial meeting. But the question is – does this first impression matter and can it be changed? Research conducted by Bertram Gawronski and published in ‘Journal of Experimental Psychology: General’ concluded that “The first impression will dominate regardless of how often it is contradicted by new experiences” – meaning that even if a person is presented in a more favourable way later on, the initial interaction will be the one that is remembered.
With this in mind, here are five key ways to ensure that you’re remembered for all the right reasons the next time you’re looking to impress someone for the first time.
There’s nothing worse than being greeted by a weak handshake, and psychologists at the University of Alabama agree. Their research found that those with a timid grip were perceived as being introvert and even anxious in comparison to those with a solid handshake who conveyed a strong personality and even an ‘openness to new experiences’. However, there’s more that goes into this interaction than just the handshake itself. It’s important also to shake standing up and never attempt to do so if their hands are obviously occupied – this just leads to an awkward social encounter.
Eyes are essential tools in communication – they reflect your inner personality, so it’s important to make sure that it shines through. By making direct eye contact with who you’re talking to, you’re showing the recipient that you’re listening to them and that you have time for them. If you look elsewhere – at the ground, off to the side, or behind them, you’ll look distracted, nervous and is if you’d rather be doing something else.
A Pleasant Smile
Smiling allows the person you’re meeting with to open up to you. If you’re smiling, then they’ll soon feel relaxed in your company and their own nerves will dissipate, lightening the atmosphere between the two of you. The Essex Smile Centre asserts that it’s important that your smile comes across as being genuine and this requires you to have confidence in your appearance. If you’re self-conscious about discoloured or misaligned teeth, then you might consider treatments such as whitening or veneers to get your smile back on track.
Take care not to give off a negative vibe. This requires you to really take note of your conversational skills. Be sure to stay positive, pass compliments and don’t get bogged down in subjects that change your demeanour for the worse. Everyone loves to be around those who have a sunny outlook on life – it brightens the mood and enables others to see fresh opportunities.
Dress codes are one of those things that shouldn’t matter – and yet they do. Present yourself in clothing that is appropriate for the occasion and that fits you well. If you have weight to lose or gain, then make an effort to achieve a normal and healthy BMI, and choose an outfit that makes you look and feel good. A polished appearance will be one of the first things that people notice about you, so take time and pride in putting together your look.
Perhaps the best thing you can do when working on creating a great first impression is to make sure that you have plenty of opportunity for practice. Try not to shy away from social interactions – use these tips and put yourself out there to keep positively connecting with others.