Make Great First Impressions

Source: Fast Company, Jul 2016

1. THEY PREPARE BEFOREHAND

Those with high emotional intelligence hold a genuine interest in others and imagine how they’ll think and feel when they first meet. When you’ve got an event on the calendar where you expect to meet new people, give it some forethought. And as you do, imagine all the details—how to dress, the location and context, and what you may be able to do to make the other person (or people) feel comfortable. This may sound fussy, but it can help that introduction go smoothly.

2. THEY MANAGE DISTRACTIONS

Nothing turns off someone you first meet more than a ringing cell phone, poor eye contact, or haphazard listening. Emotionally intelligent people are fully present, and they push aside any distractions that may get in the way of offering their full attention to somebody new.

3. THEY’RE CONSCIOUS OF THEIR BODY LANGUAGE

Being aware of themselves helps emotionally intelligent people stand back, look at themselves, and focus on how they’ll be perceived by others. This helps them approach others with a smile, a warm welcoming look, and a firm handshake (or, if it’s appropriate, a sincere hug).

4. THEY REMEMBER NAMES

Plenty of people tell themselves, “I’m just no good at names”—and that may be true. But the fact remains that one of the sweetest sounds to our ears is that of our own names, properly pronounced. When we meet someone new, the first sign that we’re important to them is how they treat our name. If you aren’t sure how to pronounce somebody’s name, just politely ask them to repeat it. Take the time and effort to listen to them say it and repeat it back until they say you’ve got it right. This may feel a little awkward but it shows you actually care—and it’s better than mishearing a name, not bothering to correct it, and bungling (repeatedly) later.

5. THEY’RE ACTIVE LISTENERS

One of our most basic needs is simply to be heard. That much you know. But without realizing it, you may spend too much space in a conversation thinking of how to reply than actually listening to the other person’s words. People with high emotional intelligence make a conscious choice to try to understand where the other person is coming from—to grasp not only what someone is saying but whythey’re saying it. And that means listening not just to the content of somebody’s speech but their tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions.

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