By: Kelly Vollmer
Maybe it’s the chance of a lifetime you’ve been waiting for, or maybe you’re just in the right place at the right time. Either way, you need to know how to make the most of those small windows of opportunity. Whether it’s interviews, elevator talks, speed dating or meeting her parents, sometimes a lot is riding on a small amount of time. When you need to make your impression lasting when time is fleeting, remember these five tips.
1) Put your best foot forward. Yes, I’m talking about your shoes. An article in Forbes magazine advises that in first impressions what you wear matters more than you think. While it’s true you shouldn’t pretend you are a certain type of person if you’re not, it’s always a good idea to dress to impress in our book-by-its-cover culture. To put it simply, what you’re wearing speaks for you so make sure it’s what you want to say.
2) Point your best foot forward. Now it’s time to talk about body language. The Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin journal published a study noting that even posture is a significant factor in first impressions. If you naturally slump your shoulders, opt for a more erect and confident position. Leaning in a little and pointing your feet toward the person you are talking to indicates interest also. Engaging eye-contact is essential, but don’t overdo it or else people might start to think you’re psychopathic.
3) Know who you are. The underlying purpose of all these types of quick encounters is for the person across from you to get a glimpse of who you are. It helps the process if you yourself are confident and familiar with who you are. Know your strengths and showcase them in what you choose to tell. If you’re not sure what facts to share, just think what qualities you normally look for in people. The ones you value most usually are ones that you hold. If not, try thinking of how can you develop these in yourself.
4) … but that’s not all folks. It is important to share your strong points but don’t be so expansive that the person assumes what you told them was all there is to you. The saying “leave them wanting more” takes on a new dimension in this situation. There’s a balance between communicating what you have to offer and coming across that you are capable of more.
5) Finish Strong. Don’t just shy away with repeated thank yous as you edge out the door. Hold that eye contact a little longer and smile while you say your goodbye once. When do you turn to go, leave without looking back. You know what you want.