People who consistently make a great first impression usually display these 8 behaviors

I’ve been told in the past that I’m not an instantly likable person.

Apparently, I’m what you call a “grower”.

Meaning people don’t always instantly warm to me, but the more they get to know me, the more they like me.

So where have I been going wrong?

On a mission to turn things around, I’ve been researching and putting into practice the all-important behaviors of people who make a great first impression.

This is what I’ve found…

1) They remember people’s names

How nice is it when someone who you have just met casually uses your name in conversation?

It feels good, right?

That’s because it shows respect. It’s a sign that they were paying attention and made an effort to remember your name.

In the words of Dale Carnegie, “A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

It’s such a simple and instant way to forge a positive connection with someone.

If you struggle with remembering names, chances are you have a listening problem, not a memory one.

I realized this was my issue. When someone told me their name, it wasn’t truly registering. I was too distracted.

So now when someone tells me their name I make a conscious effort to repeat it out loud or several times in my head to help it sink in.

If possible, I’ll then use it in conversation within the first 10 minutes or so of talking.

2) They take a genuine interest in others

Whenever you hog the conversation, chances are you’re not going to make the best first impression.

It’s unfortunate then that studies have noted that we often talk a lot about ourselves whenever we meet someone new.

You may well have plenty of interesting things to say, yet you’re also subliminally sending out the message that you’re a bit self-absorbed.

Instead of talking lots about themselves, people who make great first impressions put the spotlight on others.

They do this by asking thoughtful questions and demonstrating their interest.

That’s probably why research has confirmed that we like people more when they ask questions, especially follow-up questions.

This behavior makes the other person feel valued, which in turn leaves a positive impression.

3) They listen to you

This goes hand in hand with our last point.

Because listening is another vital element of taking a sincere interest in others.

Throwing out a few questions means nothing if someone doesn’t feel like you give a damn about the answers.

Active listening means staying fully engaged in the conversation, even when you’re not the one doing the talking. It sounds pretty obvious, but the truth is it’s not always easy.

Without realizing it, we can be busy thinking to ourselves whilst someone else is speaking.

We’re contemplating everything from what we’ll say next, to what we should eat for dinner later.

Fully participating in a conversation means keeping focus at all times, as we’re about to see next.

4) They give you their full attention

I’m sure I was guilty of this for years without realizing it. But now I’m more mindful, I really notice it in others, and it’s not nice.

I’m talking about people who are so clearly distracted when you meet them.

Rather than being present, they are mindlessly scanning the room. Or they take out their phone to check their messages.

It’s not enough to nod your head a little or just throw in a few “ah-ha’s” to give the impression someone has your attention, when really they don’t.

If you are obviously distracted it can make people feel like they are not worthy of your time.

signs that youre a positive influence on someones life 1 People who consistently make a great first impression usually display these 8 behaviors

5) They’re positive

Your general vibe makes such a difference to how others perceive you.

That may sound a bit mystical, but energy is a scientific and psychological phenomenon just as much as it is a spiritual one.

There is no getting away from the fact that negativity brings us down. It’s one of the reasons why anxiety is contagious.

People who complain and moan non-stop are a drag.

On the other hand, people love being around others who exude positive energy. It’s uplifting and makes us feel good about ourselves too.

This certainly isn’t about toxic positivity or forcing it, as we’ll see soon, that won’t work.

It comes down to your overall mindset.

People who seem happy, use positive language and maintain an optimistic attitude generally leave a more favorable first impression.

The good news is, that working on a more positive mindset isn’t just going to make a better impression on others, it’s going to drastically improve your own well-being too.

6) They have confident yet comfortable body language

We hear all the time that coming across as confident is super important to making a great first impression.

But that needs to be tempered with a relaxed approach too.

These two things combined create the winning formula. That way you seem self-assured without coming across as arrogant or overbearing.

You signal to others that you’re comfortable, and this gives them permission to relax too.

What does that look like in practical terms?

  • Giving a warm smile
  • Having good posture by standing up straight and gently pressing your shoulders back
  • Standing up to greet people
  • Making appropriate levels of eye contact
  • Having a firm handshake
  • Avoiding gestures that make you look guarded like crossing your arms
  • Speaking slowly, clearly, and at a good level

Don’t fret if this doesn’t come naturally to you. It’s something we can all practice to get better at.

As pointed out in Harvard Business Review, so-called power posing before social interactions can make us feel more self-assured.

“Take long strides. Sit up straight. Walk with your chest held high. Even if this isn’t your natural way of being, you can assume simple poses that will increase your confidence.”

7) They’re mindfully polite

Manners go way beyond saying please and thank you.

It’s about showing a clear level of respect for others at all times. And that actually involves a lot of self-awareness.

Because we need to be able to read the room and other people’s energy to behave accordingly. That means being mindful of what we say and how we say it.

It means being conscious about what topics may be considered inappropriate depending on the setting.

Doing the following things can make others uncomfortable and be off-putting:

  • Oversharing very personal information about ourselves (aka revealing too much too soon)
  • Passing tactless or blunt judgments
  • Being indelicate with our opinions

We end up putting our foot in our mouths when we don’t have the social skills to navigate mixing with people who may be very different from us.

Sometimes that demands we keep schtum rather than saying things that may not be well received‚ regardless of how we intended it.

8) They don’t try too hard

I’ve noticed over the years…

The more I’m desperate to make the very best impression, the worse it will go.

Nervousness and insecurity can creep in and ruin everything.

Being mindful of how we come across is one thing, but forcing it is quite another. Unfortunately, when we do, we can come across as fake.

We try too hard and lose some of our sincerity in the process.

People ultimately value authenticity. Those who are genuine, honest, and open often make a great first impression.

Authentic people don’t pretend to be someone they’re not. Instead, they stand by their beliefs and values, which is admirable.

They show a willingness to share and understand others’ perspectives, but they don’t feel pressured into pretending to be something they’re not.

It can feel like a difficult balance to strike — being conscious of others whilst staying true to yourself.

In many ways, it comes down to showing yourself just as much respect as you show everyone else.

It’s not about “fake it till you make it”, just try to be more mindful

If there is one vital thing I’ve learned it’s this:

It all starts with becoming more conscious.

That’s how we cultivate greater self-awareness about how people may perceive the things we say and do. Then we can observe ourselves and others more mindfully.

This in turn drastically improves our social intelligence and skills. That way we don’t need to try too hard or pretend to be something we’re not.

The change is a subtle one that’s taking place on the inside, not something we’re trying to force from the outside.

Picture of Louise Jackson

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

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