Ensure you start every meeting off on the right foot with these top 15 tips

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On average experts estimate that it takes somewhere between just 34 and 100 milliseconds for people to gather a first impression, which can be based on anything from how you walk into a room to the way your hair is styled.

Given that it takes most of us at least ten minutes to decide which salad to have for lunch, this is a seriously short time scale to work with. So, with the clock permanently against us it’s important to ensure that whatever immediate conclusions people are drawing are taken from witnessing the best you have to offer.

Here, Clinical Hypnotherapist and Life Coach  Jacqueline Hurst  gives her top 15 tips on how to ensure you start off every meeting on the right foot.

1. Realise why it matters

The saying goes, ‘We get judged within the first second of a new meeting.’ It’s so important to make a good first impression because ultimately, you only get one shot at it.

2. Be authentic

There is no point in pretending you are anyone other than yourself. It’s so important to be authentic and to simply just be you. Trying to do something or be someone you are not is uncomfortable for both you and the other person. Sit in your authenticity, own it and propel yourself forward for who you are and what you can do.

3. Eye contact is key

Making eye contact is key. It is a subconscious way of telling the other person that you are confident and trustworthy. It’s subliminal and powerful. Make sure eye contact is at the top of your list so that the first impression you give is based on a foundation of strength.

4. Ooze confidence

Confidence is a choice  and ultimately you have every reason to feel it. If you are struggling with that concept then here is a tip - start looking for evidence why you should be confident. Seriously, start listing it out, you will be amazed at what you can find. It can be anything from ‘I am confident because I have held down an amazing job for 10 years, I have a boyfriend who adores me, my kids love me, I graduated in college with a 2.1.’ Just pull a list together of whatever you can find and go for it.

5. Bolster your body language

Body language is a crucial part of any first impression . From your posture and the way you carry yourself to how you sit or shake hands. Being aware of your body language can result in an immediate improvement.  If you are not sure how to do this try videoing yourself walking into a room or talking to the camera and decide what improvements you may want to make. Remember to keep your head held high and your shoulders strong. If you are shaking hands have a good strong shake. A tiny, weak handshake says a lot – don’t be that person!

6. Get your thoughts right

How you think is SO important. If you are thinking, ‘I’ve got this’ you are ultimately going to create the right feelings and in turn the right outcome. If you are thinking negatively along the lines of ‘what if they don’t like me’, you are going about it all wrong. Check your thoughts and make sure each thought you are choosing feels amazing, confident and strong.

7. Choose the right feelings

Feelings are a choice. By creating the right thoughts  you will be creating the right feelings. You get to choose how you feel every single day so why not choose confidence? Remember that feeling confident will also help you give off the right energy. Choosing negative thoughts create negative feelings so be very careful not to choose a negative feeling like fear or anxiety when you are trying to make a good first impression. Simply decide what you want to feel and get to that feeling with the right thoughts. Good feelings, feel good. Simple as.

8. Focus your energy

By this I mean become conscious and aware of how you are thinking and feeling and then focus yourself. The way to do this is to become mindful . Ask yourself the question ‘am I thinking right?’ ‘Am I feeling good?’ ‘Am I in the right headspace and creating the right energy?’ By asking yourself these questions you are becoming more aware and conscious.

9. Use people’s names

EVERYONE likes the sound of his or her own name. You will be amazed at what gravity this little tip has. Try it and see for yourself. Try it over dinner with your friends. Say something and then say the next thing with her or his name. Do it a lot - Just make sure it’s the right name you are using!

10. Don’t get disturbed

When you are meeting someone for the first time it’s really important to focus on him or her wholly. Do not get disturbed by a phone ringing or the croissants on the table. Seriously focus, focus, and focus on them and only them.

11. Be interesting and interested

Approach others with a genuine interest in who they are. This is often contagious and you will have better conversations and lasting connections when you are interested because they become interested.

12. Put away your technology

Keep your iPhone in your pocket. Seriously! You do not want to meet someone and then check your phone, as you would be portraying (again subliminally) that you are totally uninterested in the other person. Best to keep it in your pocket.

13. Take care of yourself

Dress well, smell good etc. It’s so important to make an effort with yourself  - not really because of others but more for you. If you have your best makeup on, your best dress and your favourite handbag, you are going to feel great. Again, this creates a confidence and energy that is simply contagious.

14. Compliment them

Everyone likes a compliment and this is a great way to start any meeting. Again, be authentic and compliment the other person on their tie/bag/shoes and you will already have broken the ice and started off on the right foot.

15. Smile

A smile goes a long way and helps to break the ice with whomever you are first meeting. It is an encouraging sign to smile at someone as it allows them to see you happy and confident. If the only thing you do is smile, you would have made the right impression.

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