The 4 Pillars of a Good First Impression

First impressions are critically important because they define you. When you make a poor first impression, revising someone’s opinions of you becomes nearly impossible. The person’s “mental hard drive” can’t be so easily overwritten. If you made poor impressions in the past, the time has come to make necessary changes for the future. Follow these four wise tips to make sure you won’t turn people off when making a debut.

Eye Contact

Looking down at the ground while averting your gaze away from someone is a bad plan. At best, people will think you are timid, passive, and unsure of yourself. None of those traits instills confidence in others. Worse, people who don’t make eye contact might be considered “the guilty type.” That is, they can’t look someone in the eye because they did something wrong. Benign reasons for not making eye contact won’t be considered or forgiven. You can’t look away when meeting someone for the first time. While you shouldn’t stare, you should make a brief eye connection to establish contact.

A Firm Handshake

A firm handshake makes a good impression because weak handshakes seem forced. The flimsy touch comes off as someone who doesn’t want to shake hands. And then there’s the decided lack of confidence felt from a light handshake. Grip the other person’s hand firmly and with intention.

Also, use common sense when gripping. Grabbing someone’s hand and squeezing hard isn’t advisable, either. You want a firm, positive handshake. Don’t turn the handshake into something repellant.


Frowns, sneers, grins, and dismissive smirks need not apply. Stick with an upbeat smile. Smiles are disarming and charming. People like others who present a warm and inviting smile. Smiles put others at ease. Showing your “pearly whites” does help improve first impressions immensely.

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Dress for Success

Clean, neat, and appropriate dress speaks volumes about your personality and character. Sloppy dressing does the same but in a negative way. How you dress reveals how much you care about yourself. How you care about yourself gives insights into how you care about others, your job, and more. You don’t need to wear the most expensive clothes, but attire should always be clean and socially acceptable.

Don’t ruin others’ opinions of you due to a poor first impression. Follow the fundamental steps for making a good first impression and keep perceptions about you positive.