How to Make a Meaningful First Impression

Meghan Rooney


When it comes to making an impression, you won't always have a second chance, which is why it's important to make your first meeting a memorable one. There's a fine line between coming on too strong and taking a creative and calculated approach toward making yourself stand out—in a good way. Inc. recently reviewed a few creative ways to introduce yourself, and we're highlighting a few of the best tips for making a successful first impression below.

  • Dress the part. You'll put yourself in a better position off the bat with an appropriate appearance for the occasion. (Not to be confused with dress to impress.) This doesn't mean flashy and expensive clothing or accessories—the goal is for your attire to suit the situation. Erring on the conservative side is usually best when outfitting yourself for an introduction.
  • Make note of their name. We're guessing you'd be impressed if someone used your name in conversation upon first meeting you. It goes both ways. Make a mental note of the person's name when they make their introduction, and be sure to address them by it while conversing. This shows you're interested and attentive. It will also help you remember their name in the future.
  • Exude a comfortable amount of confidence. Notice we used the word "comfortable," which means showing someone you're comfortable in your own skin and not too nervous to hold a conversation. It doesn't mean seeming overwhelmingly sure of yourself. Remember, arrogance isn't approachable. 
  • Smile. This one is easy. A relaxed smile will put both you and the person you're meeting at ease from the start. A polite smile also projects positivity, which naturally draws others in. Just don't overdo it with an ear-to-ear grin like the one you'd find on your favourite character at the theme park.
  • Learn by listening. You'll find out a lot more about someone if you take in what they're saying and, in turn, you will be able to build an intelligent rapport. If you're speaking out of turn, it's easy to lose context in the conversation and you'll find yourself left with awkward breaks of silence. You already know all about yourself, take the time to get to know other people.
  • Be interested and interesting at the same time. When it comes to first impressions, it's really important to remember that it's a two-way street. You can take an interest in the person you're meeting while still sharing relevant and interesting information about yourself. Even if you know nothing about the topic of conversation, showing interest is the best way to keep the dialogue on course.
  • Helping never hurts. There's no better way to make a good impression than by helping someone upon meeting them. If you can provide information, directions, or even some plain old company, you might find that it's the best way to make a positive impact from the get-go. 

Find more creative ways to make an introduction over at, and learn how to connect with others on a deeper level by purchasing Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Will you use these tips the next time you introduce yourself? Tell us in the comments below.

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