You already know that making a good first impression is the key to making valuable connections and getting ahead in life.
That much is clear.
But how are you meant to do that when you don’t know what to say and you’re feeling nervous?
How are they actually meant to like you?
Well, according to emotional intelligence expert, Harvey Deutschendorf, there are 5 essential things you need to do when you first meet someone.
The best bit?
If you do these 5 things correctly (we’ll show you how), you’ll be guaranteed to be well-liked.
Check them out…
1) Show genuine enthusiasm
Get your energy up. Because if it’s not, you can come off as rude, distant and snobbish.
But I know. The trouble is that anxiety and nervousness can cause us to act distant and cold.
So what can you do?
Unfortunately, there’s only one way to get through it: Fake it till you make it.
Put a smile on that dial and open your body language. An easy way to do this to have something prepared to say before meeting them, even if it’s something small. That way, you can focus on your body language, rather than scanning your mind for something to say.
So in short, open your body language, offer them a firm handshake, a big grin, and a nice prepared greeting. It’s that easy.
Now for the 2nd step…
2) Offer a compliment
I’m not talking about complimenting their physical appearance. That’s lame and you”ll come off as hitting on them.
Instead, we are going to search for something meaningful to compliment them about. And the only way to find something meaningful is to ask questions.
You can ask simple questions, such as ‘what’s your job?’ or ‘do you have any kids?’ When they start revealing more about their life, you’ll find something to compliment them about.
It will break the ice and make them feel good about themselves. In the end, that should be the goal of any interaction.
3) Ask at least two open-ended questions
We’ve all had those conversations that fizzle quicker than they started. The problem is usually that no open-ended questions were asked to get the conversation flowing.
Open-ended questions can’t be answered with “yes” or “no”. They require a little more thought.
For example, a close-ended question would be, “Do you like chocolate?” whereas an open-ended question would be, “How do you feel about, chocolate?”
An open-ended question allows you to get into a longer conversation about chocolate.
It’s simply a matter of how you phrase the question. Keep in mind that open-ended questions usually begin with a how, what and why.
Here are some examples:
“What factors you take into account when ________?” or
“What made you ____?” or
“In your opinion, what is a reasonable way to ________?” or
“How would you describe ______?” or
“Why did you choose to _______?”
4) Find something you share in common
It’s so much easier to connect with someone when you talk about something you have in common. It develops rapport and makes the conversation interesting.
But commonalities aren’t always obvious. Some cognitive effort will be required on your part.
For example, the other week I met a champion weightlifter at the gym. Since I have zero interest in weightlifting, it wouldn’t have been wise to start speaking about weightlifting because I wouldn’t be enthused about the topic.
But I do love eating. So I asked him what he eats before and after a major weight session. It made the conversation so much more interesting for both of us than the normal, “How’s your week?”
While similar sharings might not always be easy to find, just keep in mind 5 things you actually like talking about and it’s likely you’ll be able to weave them into the conversation in a way that gets them excited too.
5) Repeat their name and commit key facts to memory
How many times have you forgotten someone’s name just after meeting them? Don’t worry, it happens to all of us.
But this is actually great because you can separate yourself from everyone else by remembering their name.
Everybody loves the sound of their own name, so sprinkle it in whenever you get a chance.
At the very least, make sure to mention their name before you leave: “Really great meeting you, Michelle.”
You can do the same with key facts you’ve learned about someone. If you can repeat something you’ve learned about them in the first few minutes, they’ll likely think you’re a terrific person that’s actually interested in them.