When making a first impression, should you strive to establish yourself as skilled and experienced or likeable and trustworthy? What matters most when meeting someone for the first time is establishing overall trust, according to an Inc. article by Jeff Haden. Trustworthiness, warmth, and likeability will immediately endear you to whoever you are meeting, then, once general rapport is established, you can focus on establishing your value and skills.
In the article, Haden shares ways that you can come across as genuinely trustworthy and likeable when you first meet a prospect or potential business partner; read on for a few of his suggestions:
- Listen more than you talk. When first meeting someone, show that you are truly interested in learning more about him or her by actively listening. Show that you are listening by nodding and using other non-verbal clues, and try to hold off on offering unsolicited advice. “Listening shows you care a lot more than offering advice does, because when you offer advice, in most cases, you make the conversation about you,” Haden explains.
- Don’t act self important. Arrogance and acting like you’re above others won’t win you any admiration. This kind of attitude only puts people off, so avoid pretentiousness at all costs and show your new contact that you truly care about what he or she is saying.
- Put your “stuff” away. You aren’t going to be able to connect with anyone on a meaningful level if you’re already connected to your phone. Set aside social media updates, email checks and texts when first meeting with someone. “Give the gift of your full attention,” he advises. “That's a gift few people give. That gift alone will make others want to be around you and remember you.”
The next time you want to make a positive first impression, remember Haden’s tips. Focus on showcasing your likeability rather than trying to show off your experiences and past successes. Once you’ve established likeability, THEN it’s time to move on to credibility. As Haden points out, “once you've shown you're trustworthy, then you can prove you're talented.”