Before we have spoken a single word, we are judged by our appearance and body language. According to American psychologist, Albert Mehrabian, 93% of all communication is non-verbal. So, yes, body language and appearance are important and, yes, a book is judged by its cover! Below is a ‘snippet’ of how to make an instant good impression. But if you start practising mindfulness of how you act and dress now, you will surely be on your way to success!
Fact: You only have one chance to make a best first impression. So let’s do it!
Be mindful of your outfit
“Dressing well is kind of good manners…. You’re part of someone’s view, you’re part of that world, and so you should dress well. I find it’s a show of respect to try to put on your best face and look as good as you can.” – Tom Ford
Be mindful of whom you may meet, and the impression you will create.
Besides appropriate, your clothing must be well-fitted and maintained. It is amazing how a simple iron can transform any garment!
Invest in a good handbag and court shoes, which are impeccable – tatty shoes are a big giveaway.
Your grooming is the ‘polish’ of your image
You must wear make-up – even a touch is important. Well-defined eyebrows and at least a slick of lipstick are a must.
A good haircut is essential, too, so go for a trim every six to eight weeks. Never allow any regrowth to show and, of course, clean hair is mandatory! Invest in a dry shampoo for when there’s an emergency.
Well-manicured nails, especially a shorter French look, add to plus points. Overly long nails and excessive nail art are a no-no in a working environment.
Dental hygiene is most important. So ensure your teeth are well-maintained and if you have broken and discoloured teeth, have these corrected.
Top tip: Always add a spritz of fragrance, but never anything overpowering!
Be mindful of your posture
Body language is a crucial part of first impressions, and a straight posture instantly adds power and status, as well reflects confidence and a positive attitude.
Smile sincerely and practise the ‘Duchenne smile’, where you smile with your eyes. This makes you look more approachable.
Be mindful of your handshake
Introductions are vital and a good handshake paramount. The handshake is the universally accepted sign of professionalism. Put out your hand, and give a gentle, firm shake when greeting someone. Then say your name and surname, with a warm smile and maintain eye contact.
Be mindful of good manners
Good manners are a reflection of your character and how others see you. Being mindful of your manners, develop goodwill, build positive relations and also maintain relations. In today’s day and age, ‘thank you’, ‘may I’, ‘please excuse me’, and ‘no, thank you’, are still vital.
Remember that good manners come from the inside and transcend into acts of kindness. Good manners means being polite and mindful of others!
Be mindful of your table etiquette
Nowhere in the world are your manners more on display than at the dinner table. Use your napkin, and at a set table, use your cutlery from the outside in. Never hold your utensils in your hand or point with them while you are eating. Rest your utensils on your plate in a ‘V’, and together when you have finished your meal. Remember, no elbows on the table, and close your mouth and refrain from speaking while chewing. Always sit up straight, and be mindful of your table conversation.
Top tip: Never overload your plate, order foods that you don’t know how to eat, or order the most expensive on the menu!
Be mindful of your cell phone etiquette
A first impression blower is to be continually on your cell phone in company. Put your phone away and on silent when meeting people, or in company. Your eyes are far more observant, and truly cleverer than your smart phone – you may just be missing out on that handsome face starring at you!