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“Hi, my name is …”

Hi my name is

You know that feeling when you meet someone new, and for some reason your instinct tells you they can’t be trusted? For some reason you can never trust their intentions and they usually confirm your worst suspicions. We are taught to always follow our gut and as ambitious twenty-somethings we need to know that we are always making the best first impression, no matter who we meet. This is what you want: You want new friends to feel like they’ve known you their entire life, you want prospective employers to see you as an invaluable asset to their company, and you want to charm complete strangers into an instant state of adoration with your coquettish laugh.

If you met yourself now, what would you think? Would you like the person standing in front of you? I mean what’s not to like, right? We firmly believe we check all the right boxes, what with our standard routine of delightful wit, dazzling smile, and a firm handshake. We all like to think we make a great first impression after years of practice through painfully difficult job interviews and awkward social situations, which have all taught us how to give an outstanding performance of the best version of ourselves. The tricky part is trying to get people to see what’s underneath the surface, while maintaining your civility and sparkling personality.

Smile like you mean it – This is an important one. Smiling makes you seem like you’re a happy person, since no one wants a downer. Whether you’re meeting with an employer or simply expanding your group of friends, smile, and not the fake kind that makes your cheeks ache. But for the love of God, please don’t do your best creepy clown impression; no one is ever that filled with joy and this isn’t a child’s birthday party.

Stranger danger – Upon meeting new people, we often put ourselves in an automatic mode of self-defense. Although you need to shed your battle armour and tone down the evasive attitude, it’s a smart move to remain cautious. After all, the person in front of you could be a master of cultivating new relationships by creating false character.

Listen (earnestly) Something I overheard last week is that young people, especially young writers, sometimes forget to listen because we are so busy thinking about the next question. I cannot think of anything more relevant to first impressions, you need to listen and not let your eyes roll to the back of your head. If you zone out, you could be missing out on something important. This also comes down to basic manners and Mama taught us better than that, so remember to take your turn when it comes to the art of conversation.

Be interested and interesting You need to express a genuine interest in the topic of conversation, and this also means asking the right questions. Now you see why listening is vital, as you need to be able to extract information in return. The person on the opposite side will appreciate your keen interest in them, and you might find you have more in common than you thought.

Laugh a little, laugh a lot – Don’t take yourself too seriously, even at job interviews. If you are one of those naturally funny people, then don’t shackle your essence. Laughter will make you seem warm, as long as it isn’t a high-pitched cackle or a shriek that the Wicked Witch would envy. People appreciate a good sense of humor – just don’t go too far with it.

Body language Remember what your mother told you: stand tall, shoulders back. You need to maintain the pose that makes you the best possible version of yourself, but you also need to be inviting. Avoid fiddling with your hands or twiddling with your hair, and don’t avoid making eye contact unless you want to look shifty.

Above all, you need to believe in the person you are. Be confident in yourself and the rest will follow. Ultimately not everybody is going to like you and that’s okay. Some people you will want to high-five with a chair and some people you will instantly connect with. Not everybody needs to like you, you just need to like yourself and be confident in your character. Like I said, what’s not to like?

About the Author

Shelley Phillips

Shelley holds a B.A. in Media Studies from Swansea University, Wales. She enjoys keeping up with a critiquing TV shows, blogging, American politics, and baking snicker doodles. She hopes to one day work as a journalist.


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