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Seven ways of making an everlasting -great- impression

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Hint: it has to do with presenting yourself as open, trustworthy, and likable.

Claudia S. Herrmann

CHF Consulting Group, LLC

January 2021

You know about how to make a great first impression and how to keep on making a good and even great impression, at least in theory. It has to do with being open, trustworthy, and likeable. Everybody knows simple ways to be more likable: making eye contact, smiling with our eyes as well as with our mouth, listening considerably more than speaking, being a proactive listener - mastering the art of asking pertinent and engaging questions about the other person, and going into a meeting or classroom believing and expecting that other people are going to like us.

Educators know very well that children are experts at reading them and are not shy to show their affinity or dislike for their teachers. Unlike adults, children have not yet fully developed the ability to mask their true feelings about other people and will act accordingly by not paying attention in class, disobeying their teacher’s orders, and so on.

You probably know the theory of how to make a great first impression, but how can you know if you’re really making a great impression? How can you actually know that your students, your peers and in general, all the people you meet (socially or professionally) perceive you as trustworthy and likable? How do you know that they interact with you out of a required cursory politeness while masking their true feelings and thoughts about you, or how can you know if they are genuinely interested in interacting with you? In summary, how can you know if you have established rapport with other people?

Our eyes and body are not good at masking our feelings and thoughts. Thus, the best approach is to pick up on other people’s nonverbal cues and gestures. There are several nonverbal cues that are indicative of your ability to establish rapport:

  1. Making and maintaining eye contact

  2. Genuinely laughing and smiling

  3. Initiating new and interesting conversations

  4. Maintaining physical proximity without invading other people’s personal space

  5. Mimicking nonverbal expressions and gestures

  6. Wearing an attire appropriate to a specific occasion and smelling pleasantly

  7. Giving a firm handshake

To this day I remember a disheveled woman I met at a world leaders symposium in Washington. From the onset she practically leaned in on me when she was talking to me, forcing me to constantly back away from her, she never looked at me in the eye, and she continually mumbled, so that it was impossible for me to understand what she was saying. After a few minutes I promptly left her. I then noticed that all the people she approached left her as quickly as possible. She was the perfect example of how to create a terrible first impression.

Research shows how important is to mimic other people's nonverbal expressions because it means that at a subconscious level you understand and correlate with the emotions other people are experiencing. If you’re able to translate this imitation to the conscious level, you’ll harness a positive experience the other persons have from interacting with you. As a parent, you get your children to do their homework. As an educator, children will more readily keep their attention on what you are teaching, and you’ll have a better relationship with our peers. As an entrepreneur or an executive, you will make people pay attention to what you say instead of muting the camera and going on to do other things.

Elegance will always help you to create a memorable impression

How you can master body language

Covid-19 has forced us to take our interactions online. It’s much more difficult to establish rapport through a screen than it is in person, especially when you consider that the screen is the size of a smart phone, that you’ll probably be unable to see their hand and other body gestures. Educators are painfully aware of how difficult it is to keep their students focused on their online classes.

Nonetheless, you should make a conscious effort to analyze your own as well as other people’s nonverbal clues. How they sit, how they move their hands if you can see them, or how they move their faces when you talk will give you an informative read from their clues. Also, be aware of what your own nonverbal clues, gestures and postures convey, as they make a powerful impact on how you think, feel, and interact with others regardless of whether your interaction is virtual or in person.

Do you greet others with a firm handshake or a warm hug? Do you make pleasant eye contact even if you’re talking to a screen? Do you show you’re genuinely happy to meet someone? Is your conversation engaging? Are you relaxed and being yourself? Do you show a genuine interest in others?

At the same time, pay close attention and pick up on other people’s nonverbal signals. Do they lean forward or nod with their heads when you talk? Do they smile back at you? Do they extend the conversation? See how you can accomplish that here Slow Blink Training Program | CHF Consulting Group

“If you master the nonverbal body language people will like you and most importantly, trust you, always.”


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