11 phrases emotionally intelligent people use to make a great first impression

Most of us like to think of ourselves as emotionally intelligent people. But not everyone can walk the walk.

Luckily, a big part of developing emotional intelligence comes down to putting in the effort, and so as long as you want to be emotionally intelligent, you’ve won half the battle.

Better still, we’ve done the hard work for you and picked out some of the phrases that you’ll want to scatter throughout your conversation to make sure that your emotional intelligence is front and center.

And so without further ado, let’s take a look at just a few of the phrases that emotionally intelligent people use to make a great first impression.

1) “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

If you’re the kind of person who loves meeting new people, make sure they know it.

There’s little to gain from acting coy or holding your thoughts and feelings back when you first meet someone. If it’s a pleasure to meet them, tell them.

Now, it’s not always going to be nice to meet new people, and because emotional intelligence comes down to being true to yourself, you shouldn’t ever lie. There’s also the fact that this phrase is so overused that most people barely even notice that it’s being said.

Still, it’s a great way to break the ice and to make a good first impression on people that you’ve been looking forward to meeting for a long time.

2) “How are you?”

I like to follow this one up with, “No, really. How are you?”

That’s because we’re so used to people asking how we are that most of us just reply with “I’m okay” or “I’m fine thanks”, whether or not that’s the truth.

Like what we said about saying that it’s a pleasure to meet someone, it’s easy for people to downplay this question as just something that people say.

And so if you want to display emotional intelligence and use it to make a good first impression, don’t just ask people how they are. Make it clear that you really want to know and then listen to the answer they give you.

3) “How can I help?”

This might sound cynical, but when people first meet other people, there’s a part of them that’s asking themselves, “What can this person do for me?”

In fact, as awkward as forced networking events are in the business world, I have a certain respect for them. At least they’re upfront about the fact that they’re designed to introduce two people who can benefit from knowing each other.

And so if we take it as a fact that we all want to know what other people can offer us, this question allows you to cut to the chase. It also puts the focus on what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for you.

4) “Tell me more about yourself.”

We’re all our own favorite subjects, and so that means that if we ask people to tell us more about themselves, we’re giving them the floor and asking them to talk about something they’re passionate about.

Like asking them what we can do to help them, this question shifts the focus of the conversation towards the person you’re talking to and makes them feel as though they’re the most important person in the room.

In fact, this is a trick that a lot of politicians use. It’s just that the difference between you and a politician is that you can genuinely mean what you say.

5) “I understand what you mean.”

Again, it’s important for us to make sure that we only say this if we really do understand what the other person means.

But the good news here is that if we can say this honestly to someone, it’s a great way to build trust and to leave them with that all-important positive first impression. This is especially true when you’ve asked some deeper questions like how you can help them.

If you can demonstrate that you understand the person you’re talking to, it’ll encourage them to further open up to you in the future. Plus, you can use this one when you want to acknowledge what someone has said even if you don’t agree with it.

6) “I disagree, but I appreciate your point of view.”

youre dealing with a cunning person 11 phrases emotionally intelligent people use to make a great first impression

This is another way of showing someone that even if you don’t agree with them, you still think their opinion is valid.

Done well, this can earn you a ton of respect and actually do a better job of building a relationship with someone than if you told them that you agree with them.

That’s because everyone has a unique point of view, and social networking sites have also taught us that if we don’t seek out viewpoints that differ from our own, we’ll end up in an echo chamber.

7) “What do you think?”

This question is another useful way of turning the conversation back over to the person you’re talking to.

It will also have the advantage of making sure that you don’t just dominate the conversation with your own opinions. This makes it particularly useful in a work environment if you’re talking to someone who’s less senior than you.

In fact, this might be the most versatile all of the phrases that we’re looking at today because you can pull it out in almost any situation.

8) “Let’s find a solution.”

This phrase is perfect for when you’ve identified a problem and you need to decide where to go from there.

For example, let’s say that you asked someone how they were and they told you that they weren’t doing great because they had an important presentation to deliver and they didn’t know how to go about communicating their message.

If that was the case, you might offer to help them to find a solution by brainstorming potential concepts with them. You can either make specific suggestions of your own or you can ask them questions in an attempt to draw out an idea of theirs.

9) “I’m open to your ideas.”

This phrase is another one that’s designed to encourage the other person to open up.

The people we meet are full of great ideas, and if we don’t encourage them to share them then we’re the ones who are going to miss out.

Let’s say that you’re the CEO of a company and you’re talking to individual employees to get a feel for what’s going on at the ground level. If you ask them for their ideas, you can bet that they have a hundred ways that you could make their jobs easier and more efficient.

Being open to ideas isn’t enough, though. You also have to be willing to walk the walk and to follow up with any ideas that you’re given.

10)  “Thank you for sharing that with me.”

When someone opens up to you, this phrase allows you to recognize that and to thank them for doing so.

At the risk of repeating myself, a lot of emotional intelligence comes down to being honest with people and telling them what you really feel.

If you’ve done your job well up to this point, you’ll find that your earlier remarks have been rewarded by the person you’re speaking to returning the favor.

When that happens, acknowledge that they didn’t have to do that and that you appreciate the fact that they opened up. You might just be surprised by the effect it has.

11)  “I’m grateful for this opportunity.”

This one only makes sense when the person you’re speaking to gives you an opportunity, such as by suggesting that the two of you work together.

Still, when you do get to use it, it can have a huge impact on the way that you’re perceived by the person you’re speaking to. It’s like a thank you on steroids, because you’re not just saying thanks – you’re also explaining what it is that you’re thankful for.

The result is a super powerful way to make a good first impression on someone who’s been kind enough to provide you with an opportunity, despite the fact that they only just met you.


Now that you know some of the phrases that emotionally intelligent people use when they want to make a great first impression, it’s over to you to put them to work.

Remember that saying these phrases is one thing, but actually meaning them is something else entirely. If people suspect that you’re saying these things just to seem emotionally intelligent, they’re soon going to tire of you.

And so while this list should provide you with a decent starting point, there’s still a little work for you to do.

Emotional intelligence is like a muscle that improves with time. The more you flex it, the better you’ll be at setting great first impressions. Good luck.

Picture of Dane Cobain

Dane Cobain

Dane Cobain is a published author, freelance writer and (occasional) poet and musician with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not working on his next release, he can be found reading and reviewing books while trying not to be distracted by Wikipedia.

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