Many scientific studies agree that a true ‘first impression’ lasts about 7 seconds, after which, the other person’s opinion will most likely never change. Making a good first impression is crucial for building lasting relationships, since we usually only get one shot.
Let’s say you’ve just walked into a big network event or a party. You want to introduce yourself… but how?
1. Add Value
People will be more interested in you if you are more interested in them, especially if you demonstrate an honest desire to add value to their life.
From the moment you approach someone, continue to ask yourself: “How can I add value?”
What problem are they facing? What are they interested in? What are their goals and passions?
Most people will forget what you did, and what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.
2. Posture and confidence
Body language is often more important than spoken language, especially when it comes to first impressions. Walk tall and smile more than you want. Shake with a strong grip and make direct eye contact. Most importantly, be genuinely interested in the person you are about to talk to – let your confidence come from your desire to add value.
3. Open-ended questions
Your first few questions are key to a smooth conversation and an ongoing relationship. The easiest way to end things quickly and awkwardly is to only ask unrelated ‘close-ended’ questions – usually beginning with; do you, can you, are you, and usually end with; yes, no, or bye.
Instead, focus on; why, how, and what questions, linking each answer to the next question until you can get you and your new friend effortlessly engaged on a mutually interesting subject.
Always remember: The purpose of a conversation is not to kill time, but to grow a connection and add value.
If you want to learn more along these lines, I’d recommend checking out Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently Hardcover by John C. Maxwell