5 Ways To Make Great First Impressions

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. It is the first impression that often closes or opens doors to additional contacts and networking opportunities.

Unfortunately, we live in a world laced with bias and stereotypes, so if you truly want to design your own life and open unseen doors of opportunity, it is imperative that you are always ready to make a solid first impression.

firm hand shake
Be sure to give a firm hand shake.

Over the last 18 years, I’ve traveled to over 260 cities in 32 countries.

I’ve met hundreds of thousands of people.

I’ve dined with Fortune 100 CEO’s and executives, shared a drink or two with a number of professional athletes and smoked cigars in Central America with wealthy, entrepreneurs and businessmen.

Initially, I didn’t know these interesting people, but after an introduction they welcomed me into their worlds based simply on a first impression.

How is this possible?

Well, I planned for it.

I almost never knew when I would meet someone of interest, but it didn’t matter, because I was always prepared.

Here are the five things; I’ve always done to ensure I make a solid first impression:

1. Dress how you want to be addressed.

As human beings we’re constantly surveying our environment for frauds. One of the best ways to identify what we believe maybe a fraud is by judging how an individual is dressed. Now, I’m not referring to how we may dress in regards to fashion labels and brands. What I’m talking about is wearing clothes that are suitable for the occasion or event.

If you decide to show up at a dinner, with high-ranking executives in a t-shirt and jeans, your name should be well-known and your net worth above the sum of all their salaries.  

Otherwise, put on a suit, it’s time to make an impression. Also, make sure your attire is clean from head to toe. An untucked shirt and scuffed pair of shoes could make that important somebody think you’re not ready to roll with the big boys and girls!

2. Keep in mind, that your body is your brand.

The best branding you have is your body.

You probably weren’t thinking about making a great first impression a month from now, when you slurped down that high calorie shake.

Let me be clear, body size typically doesn’t matter when making a solid first impression. What does matter is your level of confidence.

If you’ve been eating right, resting well and exercising, there will be a glimmer in your eye that says, “I’m on top of my game!”

That’s what matters.

There’s nothing quite like meeting new and important people when you’re currently winning the game you’ve been playing.

Treat your body today, as if you must make a solid first impression tomorrow!

I’m not done yet…
I have to address hygiene as well.

It’s 2016, there’s no excuse for yellow teeth, bad breath, smelly hair, waxy ears and dirty nails.

If you think it doesn’t matter, you are dead wrong. If your breath stinks, it drastically reduces the chance that you’ll be invited out for dinner and drinks!

3. Adjust your attitude to a winning attitude.

Your attitude about life means everything.

Positive energy is magnetic.

People like being around others who seem to be winning at life. If you’re not winning, you may be able to fool everybody else, but you can’t fool yourself. That’s why some of us fold under the pressure of social settings and say silly things that normally wouldn’t come out of our mouths.

Here’s what you should know:

  • Winning is a mentality.
  • Winners lose sometimes.
  • Winners just never accept defeat, so regardless of their current circumstance they adjust their attitudes for the next win!

(For more depth on these points, check out my blog post: Are You A Winner?)

4. Shut-up and Listen.

You learn more when you listen. Plus, displaying the ability to actively listen, leaves a lasting impression.


You’ll differentiate yourself, because most people don’t listen well.

Like I said earlier, I’ve had the opportunity to rub shoulders with some amazing people. I saw each of these interactions as opportunities to learn more about what made them successful.

If there was a pause in the dialogue, instead of going into a boring monologue about myself, I would just ask a provocative question like, “What were the top 3 mistakes you made, when building such a successful company?”

Questions keep the dialogue going. They create learning opportunities for you and they keep the spotlight on the person who has the least to gain from the interaction.

Asking questions is a great way to keep a person of interest in conversation with you.

5. Plan to make a good impression no matter where you go.

This is the hardest of the five to execute consistently, and the most important.

Stand out. Blending in isn't memorable.
Stand out. Blending in isn’t memorable.

It’s real easy to lower your personal standard when making a weekend run to the grocery store. The excuse we give for this is, “Nobody will see me.”

You’re exactly right, you’ll blend right in!

You should always make an effort to look your best…even in sweats!

Here’s the deal…

The person who can open a door that allows you to live your dreams or meet a goal, has to grocery shop too!

You never know when that serendipitous moment might happen, and the last thing you want to worry about is having your head wrapped, while wearing your old painting shoes.

To live a life with purpose, you must BE on purpose.

Those are the five techniques I’ve used to make great impressions over the past two decades. Be sure to let me know how these five tips work for you!

Also, I’d love to hear about any tips and tricks you may have for making a great first impression.

Now, go out and make some great first impressions and stay inspired, it’s a lifestyle choice.

About the Author:

Linal Harris
Global Entrepreneur – Certified Life Coach – Media Personality – Speaker

Linal Harris is a global entrepreneur, certified life coach, author, and media personality. As the founder of Inspirational Perspective® Publishing, LLC and Insights 4 Life™ Coaching, LLC, Harris challenges his global audience and coaching clients to Murder Mediocrity® and live their best life possible. Harris concentrates his work as an ontological coach with clients on what he calls the 4 pillars of life; the relationship we have to ourselves, the relationships we have with others, our relationship to work and money, and the connection we have to our spirit and life’s purpose. Harris coaches CEO’s, executives, entrepreneurs, athletes and celebrities. Harris is the author of “Slay Your Goals”, where he provides his readers with scientific and research backed tips for achieving their goals. Harris is an expert goal-setter and has been called upon by Fortune 500 companies to assist with setting their strategic priorities, facilitate goal-setting sessions and provide inspirational talks.

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