First impressions count, whether that be in an interview, a meeting with new people, or even your first day on the job. Luckily, there are a few emotionally intelligent tactics you can use to help you put your best foot forward and leave a great lasting impression.
Developing your emotional intelligence skills is an excellent approach to boosting your first impression game. But first, what is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to recognise your emotions and the emotions of others and to use that information to guide thinking and behaviour. This in turn helps to enhance relationships, says Leadership Coach and psychologist Vanessa Fudge.
“Emotional intelligence refers to your ability to recognise your emotions and the emotions of others and to use that information to guide thinking and behaviour.”
Here are four tactics to help you harness the powers of emotional intelligence and ensure you make a great first impression.
- Self-reflect. Before you even enter the room, think about how you’re feeling – are you confident and relaxed, or nervous and worried? You should always take a moment to centre yourself to ensure you’re in a positive and calm frame of mind. As cliché as it may sound, finding a quiet place and doing some breathing exercises before a first meeting can be extremely useful.
- Match your energy to the room or person. Good emotional intelligence skills include being able to read a situation and adjust your behaviour to suit. This doesn’t mean changing who you are, rather adjusting your energy levels and body language to match the mood of the room. For example, if you walk into a formal setting, big smiles and an overly enthusiastic greeting may seem out of place, so you might instead opt for a friendly smile and good eye contact. Likewise, walking into an interview room filled with folk in casual attire and relaxed postures could mean that a formal approach might send the wrong vibe.
- Focus your attention on the person you’re speaking to. Apart from the obvious of removing any other distractions, Vanessa says to properly connect with a new person, it’s important to listen in a way where you are totally present. That means removing any other distractions and focus your attention entirely on the person who’s talking to you, so put that mobile away.
What not to do? Vanessa recommends avoiding the temptation to paraphrase or interrupt to finish their sentence. Also avoid thinking about what you’re going to say next while someone is talking - you might miss something important they’ve said, or even worse, it may make you seem disinterested.
- Find the common ground. Talking about common interests gives the new person you’re meeting the opportunity to talk about something they enjoy. This means when you walk away, they know something about you, and you something about them which helps to build a greater connection. A way to find common ground is to ask questions that show interest beyond the purpose of the meeting. Be mindful though of asking too many questions, particularly if the person is not overly receptive as this could put some people off.
Learning how to master each of these tactics will enhance your emotional intelligence and ensure that you are always leaving a great first impression.