Want to leave a great first impression when you meet someone new? Here are a few body language tips to help you create a lasting first impression, whether at an interview, business meeting or a date.
The importance of body language
All of us wish to make a good first impression. By leaving a strong first impression on someone we meet for the first time, we can increase our chances of being liked and favored. Workforce and talent management expert Ashira Prossack explains “First impressions matter – a lot! You only get one shot to make a first impression.”
In fact, it is easier to leave a great first impression than fixing a bad impression. And the key to doing that is focusing on your nonverbal communication and body language. When you know certain body language tips, you can use it to your advantage to accomplish your goal of impressing someone. Studies have found that 93% of our communication with other people is nonverbal. This is why, how we use our body language is very important.
The need to make a good first impression
Bestselling author Peter Economy explains “It’s especially important to make a good first impression. Why? Because within the first few minutes of meeting someone, we are already making decisions about what the other person’s intentions are, and whether or not the person is credible.”
According to Dr. Lillian Glass, a body language expert, the way we carry ourselves in public can significantly influence what first impression we leave on others. She says “Introverts and extroverts need to be mindful of their body language to make a good impression. You have to convey that you’re confident, that you’re an open person and that you’re the type of person that someone wants to work with or do business with.”
Body language and posture is the basis for building a powerful image. It makes us appear graceful and confident instantly. Posture is the reason why celebrities and business leaders captivate and allure us. Body language expert India Ford explains “Our body language has the power to amplify our presence in any situation. The way you walk, stand, sit and make eye contact can super-boost your image when walking into a room full of people.”
Body language for best first impressions
According to author and founder of The Art of Manliness Brett McKay and his wife author and editor Kate McKay, we need to need to focus on 3 distinct aspects of nonverbal communication:
A. Body language tips for showing openness
When we appear “open” to others, instead of looking “closed”, we seem more welcoming, approachable, warm and safe. Openness enables us to build a stronger connection with someone. By wisely using our body parts, we can communicate openness in a nonverbal manner to people we meet for the first time.
Here are a few body language tips for appearing “open” while communicating with others:
Confidently make friendly and warm eye contact with the people you meet and interact with. By having an open gaze and looking around you will communicate that you are approachable and invite others to initiate contact. Brett and Kate suggest “Don’t wear sunglasses unless you really need them. And try not to blink excessively.”
When you have an open neck, you show that you are welcoming and warm in a social setting. On the other hand, covering your neck with a shirt and tie shows that you have a protected authority. “So in your off hours, remove your tie, and unbutton your shirt a little. Or wear a v-neck tee, which not only reveals your neck, but offers a little more access to your heart as well,” add Brett and Kate.
Smile every time you meet someone new. It is as simple as it is effective. The McKays add “A smile signifies an invitation. It bespeaks friendliness, warmth, and openness. And when you smile at someone, they feel as though you find them appealing.”
Make sure not to cross your arms while talking to someone. This posture appears defensive and creates a distance between you and the other person. “Sit and stand with arms by your sides rather than crossed over your stomach,” they suggest. Moreover, by showing open palms, you will communicate that you are open, trustworthy and honest.