Saturday, April 4, 2020

First Impressions Etiquette

Your smile is your most powerful asset. Since we are all capable of smiling, unless facial impairments prevent us from doing so, we must make use of it as it can only work for our advantage.

First Impressions: Using Seven Steps within Seven Seconds

Do you recall someone who impressed you the first time you met? A colleague, a potential client, your boss, your future spouse, a VIP, a well-respected leader, etc...? Do you know that it takes only about seven seconds to form an impression of someone you just met? The rest is just a cherry on top, or not! Now think about how you come across when you meet someone for the first time.

The following are 7 easy steps to help you build upon your first impression...

Step 1: The Physical Appearance
Your clothes must match the image you want to reflect at any given occasion. If you have to project a professional image then choose suitable attire. For social settings, it is best to find out about the dress code and the venue beforehand. Ladies try to keep the make up discrete and shy away from overly done looks. Elegance, regardless of material capabilities, is best acquired when dressing appropriately to the age and the body form. As for men, avoid shirts that are too tight which might reveal some parts of the abdomen or shirt buttons open till the middle of the chest. Looks also incorporate the hair factor. The hairstyle and the cleanliness of it also contribute to the appeal of your physique. Therefore make sure to get the most suitable hairstyle for the shape of your face. You can work on your looks by seeking a professional stylist.

Step 2: The Posture

The proper posture helps you stand confidently and positively. With the right posture you will look more welcoming and interesting. When meeting someone for the first time, avoid fidgeting or slouching, for it can make you look anxious and confused or less attractive and insecure. While standing to meet someone, in order to improve your body posture, first pull your head back and make sure your chin is parallel to the floor. Then push your shoulders down and relax them all the while aligning them with your chest. Keep your feet parallel on the floor, unlock your knees and imagine a string pulling you up from your head towards the ceiling. Furthermore look straight ahead while walking. It will give your walk the sense of a purposeful direction. Finally, to maintain a healthy body posture you need to exercise regularly and/or practice the appropriate Yoga or Pilates techniques.

Step 3: The Voice

When you speak, your voice must commend assertiveness and confidence. The sound of your voice must be loud enough but not too hasty or anxious, yet soft enough but well articulated. Avoid using filler words such as “you know what I mean,” “like,” “yeah,” “umm,” etc... as they make you sound boring or hesitant. One way to check for your verbal communication skills is to record your voice on your phone and listen to it meticulously. Do your words sound clear? Are you pronouncing the consonants properly? Is your voice level going down unintentionally at the end of each sentence? You must aim at sounding pleasant yet assertive, approachable yet professional. Remember, in most cases and particularly in the case of first impressions, how you say something is more important than what you say. One might not remember the content of a first conversation with you but will recall how you sounded.

Step 4: The Eye Contact
No first impression could be significant enough without the required level of eye contact. When meeting someone for the first time, you must make eye contact. Before extending your arm, while extending it, throughout the shaking of the hand and until exchanging each other’s names, you must continue to make eye contact. In the Armenian culture, as with most Western cultures, under no circumstance can you get away with a positive first impression without the proper eye contact. Eye contact implies respect and acknowledgement to the person you are being introduced to.

Step 5: The Handshake
Do you know that people can tell a lot from your handshake? A firm and proper handshake, as opposed to a loose one, is what you need to be perceived as an assertive and sincere person during introductions. When meeting for the first time extend your arm; make sure the web of your hand touches that of the other person; have a good grip of your converser’s hand with the palms touching while your fingers and thumb are resting on the back of the other person’s palm and continue to shake hands until you both get introduced to each other properly. Also try not to hold too tightly your counterpart’s hand, since you will come across as a bone crusher!

Step 6: The Smile
Your smile is your most powerful asset. Since we are all capable of smiling, unless facial impairments prevent us from doing so, we must make use of it as it can only work for our advantage. But be careful of course and do it wisely! For instance, a cheeky smile to your friend’s spouse or your boss unnecessarily, might get you in trouble. Here I emphasize on the way you smile and the appropriateness of the occasion. Your smile must project sincerity, respect and genuine enthusiasm towards the situation and the person with whom you are conversing. Smiling is also contagious, so when you smile at a person you just met, your kind gesture is appreciated and meeting you is remembered as a pleasant experience.

Step 7: The Body Hygiene
Under no circumstance must you meet someone without considering the proper etiquette of hygiene. It can either make you look attractive or unpleasant. Proper hygiene is a necessity. It is a reflection of a healthy condition, while poor hygiene is associated with infections and germs. Teeth, hair and body must be washed and taken care of on a regular basis. Therefore, make sure your daily routine keeps your body, hair and teeth clean.

To recap, when meeting someone for the first time, you must make eye contact, smile and extend your arm to give an assertive handshake. Most of the time we all get only one chance to make a positive impression. Following the above seven steps as a guideline can help you sound more confident, impressive and unforgettable in a positive way. 

Meet our newest contributor, Irma Vartanian Balian, founding Director of ProtocolWise ™. She has lived in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Her rich cultural background, her commitment to excellence, along with her expertise in Protocol and Soft Diplomacy, equipped lrma to provide valuable advice to her clients while putting them at ease. Irma trains leaders, corporate teams, diplomats, individuals, families and professionals, both regionally and internationally with assurance and professionalism.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia©️ Etiquette  Encyclopedia 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.