4 Ways Of Making a Strong First Impression in Social Settings

Here Are 4 Ways Of Making a Strong First Impression in Social Settings

1. Keep your introduction simple. 

Introduce yourself by name. Unless any further info is needed immediately, leave everything else unmentioned. Remember: unlike a job interview, there’s no rush here to advertise all of your best qualities right up front. Allow the other person to learn about you organically, through a give-and-take conversation. If the situation calls for it, add a relevant fact to further identify yourself when you first meet, like:

  • “Hi, I’m ___, the birthday boy’s best friend.”
  • “Hi, I’m ___. Your daughter’s in the same class as my son.”
  • “Hi, I’m ___. Your brother and I work in the same office.”

2. Be confident. 

Impress people by not worrying about whether or not you’re impressing them. Stay true to yourself instead. Of course, we all have different sides to ourselves, so be the “you” that’s most appropriate to the situation. For example:
  • If you’re meeting a new study-partner, keep the focus on your schoolwork and school-life in general.
  • If you’re meeting people for the first time after moving to a new area, play up your role as the recent transplant experiencing culture shock.
  • If a mutual friend has invited you (as well as a bunch of other friends of theirs who are die-hard fans) to a sports game that you’re unfamiliar with, stay true to your outsider status instead of pretending to be an expert.

3. Refrain from bragging. 

Feel free to talk about things in your life that you’re proud of if the conversation turns that way, but keep it in check. Earn the other person’s respect with your actions in the here and now instead of demanding it by talking about all the things you’re achieved in the past. Prove to them that you’re confident of your own self-worth and don’t need other people’s admiration to bolster it.
  • If the conversation turns to your job, tell them where you work and maybe a very general description of what you do, while leaving any fancy job titles unmentioned.
  • If they recognize you as an All-State athlete, play down your own accomplishment and credit your team and/or coach for making it at all possible.
  • If someone else mentions how you rushed into a burning building last week to save a pet cat, show or feign embarrassment and then switch topics rather than gloat over your own bravery.

4. Share your anxieties or discomforts. 

If you find yourself uncomfortable for whatever reason, mention the fact lightly. Show your self-confidence by freely admitting that you’re not perfect. Make the other person more comfortable by showing them that they’re free to do the same. This way you’re more likely to take command of the situation instead of being at its mercy.
  • If you have trouble remembering names (especially if you’re being introduced to many people at once), fess up and apologize that you’ll probably forget them by the end of the night. If they know this, they’re more likely to repeat their names for your benefit later on.
  • If you’re uncomfortable at large parties or gatherings, say as much if it’s crimping your style. Let the other person know that your best self is better seen in more intimate settings.
  • If you’re on a first date and haven't dated for a while (or at all), share this with your date. Assure them that any odd behavior on your part is due to a lack of experience, and not a reflection on them personally.

5. Listen. 

Build a real conversation between yourselves instead of just talking at each other. When they tell you something, respond directly to their comment. If you have a personal story that’s relevant to what they’ve said, be sure to tell it in a way that clearly shows your story is a response, and not just an opportunity to switch subjects and talk about yourself. Ask follow-up questions when they tell their own stories to show that they have your interest.
  • "I never thought of it that way. I'll have to watch that movie again with that fan theory in mind."
  • "That sounds like a pretty stressful vacation. Would you go back there again if you had the chance?"
  • "The same thing happened to me once, or almost the same thing. Only in my case

6. Think the best about the other person. 

Ensure that you’ll make a good impression by persuading them that they’ve done the same with you. Don’t undermine your own introduction by judging theirs unfairly. Assume they mean the best, even when they make a faux-pas. Always give people the benefit of the doubt until they give you a very real reason not to.