Sunday,17 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1191, ( 3 - 9 April 2014)
Sunday,17 December, 2017
Issue 1191, ( 3 - 9 April 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Mastering the first impression

Let’s talk about better living! Our new interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers.

Have you ever walked into a party, whether it’s a business-networking event or your friend’s birthday party, and realised that you basically knew no one? Well, you’re not alone. In her classic bestselling self-help book, How to Work a Room, 25th Anniversary Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Making Lasting Connections - In Person and Online, Susan RoAne lays down the fundamentals for savvy socialising anywhere, whether a party, a conference, or online. She also gives advice on how to improve communication and socialisation skills in business and in life and how to use them to create and leverage connections. As an advocate of the “self-introduction,” RoAne gives her proven tips on how to make an impression on anyone and how to make those dreaded social events less daunting and more fun.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom to give you the confidence and tools to walk into any room and shine.

Know the news: Do your homework before you head to a party. Prepare things to talk about; current events are automatic chitchat topics. And, as a rule, it’s preferable to stay away from politics.

Be the first one to smile and make eye contact: You may be willing to smile back at someone if they make the first move. But you’ll meet way more people if you take a pro-active approach. So find someone who’s not currently engaged in a conversation and looks approachable and look their way. If they grin back at you, that’s a green light to head over there and start chatting them up.

Make your intro memorable: Prepare a short greeting that includes your name and, instead of your job title, mention one reason you’re passionate about what you do. If you say something compelling about what you do rather than just rattling off your title, you’ll strike up a much better conversation.

Open up about yourself: But also get people to talk about themselves because that’s their favourite subject. If all you’re doing is asking questions, that gets tedious, and people may think you’re nosy. Just be sure to keep it upbeat and focus on topics that’ll keep the chatter going so that you don’t come off as too self-obsessed. Give them room to respond to what you’re saying.

Pretend the person you’re talking to is the only one in the room: There is nothing more off-putting and insulting to people than to have someone talking to them and looking around to see who else is in the room. Same goes for checking your phone mid-conversation.

Active listening: While you’re in the midst of conversation, re-state or paraphrase in your own words, what has been said to you by the person you’re conversing with. It allows you to respond to others, focus and communicate objectively. It also improves personal relationships and allows you to reinforce information throughout the conversation.

Be genuine: Be yourself and stay authentic, relaxed and sincere. Put on your smile and engage people in relevant and interesting conversation. If you’re shy, the best approach is an outward focused conversation. You can still make an excellent first impression by focusing the attention on that other person.

Look good, feel good: Put a little extra effort into your clothes and hair. Your appearance can greatly affect how you feel about yourself and how others perceive you.  Always be put together and dress appropriately for the occasion. 

Be confident, not cocky: Confidence begins with good body language. Just like you smile to feel good, stand tall and keep good posture to exude confidence. To avoid appearing insecure, maintain open gestures and arms. If you constantly cross your arms, you may come off as reserved and unapproachable. Similarly, when you directly interact with someone, remember to have open body gestures, look him/her in the eye, and give a firm handshake. Everybody is “people watching,” and you are always being judged. On any given day you can interact with someone important and your first impression is a lasting impression. Therefore, remember to smile, stand tall and dress for success.

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