Take Control of Your Life

I’m not going to talk about first impressions because most of the time a first impression is also the last impression. Instead, I want to talk about how to make a good impression every time (the first, the second, the third, all the way to the last time).

I’ve thought long and hard about how to make a good impression and I think it boils down to a few factors that I want to share with you today.

how to make a good first impression

You’re making an impression all day, every day.

From the people you walk past to the people you encounter

  • At the cash register
  • At the store
  • In the city walking around
  • Meetings
  • One on one conversations
  • The doctors office
  • The cab driver
  • The list goes on and on

Not only is a good impression a game changer with how people perceive you (we’ll get into this in a few minutes) but it also changes how you feel about yourself.

There’s nothing wrong with making an average impression. You’ll just be seen as normal. No one will be super impressed by you or blown away. That’s fine.

I tend to think there is something wrong with making a below average impression. Only because you may not be treated how you should be. People will often not pay attention to you. And sometimes, you just won’t feel good about yourself and it could change the way you behave and think.

Why do I think making a good impression matters so much?

  • You’ll feel good about yourself and be more confident
  • Your interactions will be better (usually)
  • People will be impressed by you (for multiple reasons)
  • People will treat you better
  • You’ll create a lasting impression
  • You’ll look better than others
  • People might do a double take
  • Strangers will wonder who you are
  • You’ll be seen as more attractive
  • You will have a presence to you that others will not

Why wouldn’t you want to make a good impression with everyone you meet?

Maybe you’re just not in the mood. Maybe you’re lazy. Maybe you think it takes too much work. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe you just don’t care.

There could be a lot of reasons why you don’t want to make a good impression. And if that’s the case then so be it. But if you do want to make a good impression or change the way other’s view you or change the way you view yourself, then keep reading.

The Idea of a Good Impression – More In Depth

Just really quickly, I want to give you an idea of why I think making a good impression matters before I list out the factors. If you just want the factors of how to make a good impression, then you can skip this section.

There are so many benefits to making a good impression that I have personally experienced that I wish I could go into more detail about them all but it would take forever. So I will just list some of them out for you.

What Happens When I Make a Good Impression

  • People remember me
  • My network grows and people want to help me
  • I get free stuff
  • People think I know what I’m talking about
  • People are happy to see me again
  • I get calls from people to see if I want to work on their project with them
  • I’ve gotten job offers on the spot (legit job offers)
  • Friends and people I meet say nice things about me
  • I get invited to events
  • Girls ask for my number
  • People want me at their party
  • I get asked for my opinion
  • I’m treated not as a business transaction but as a person/friend

There’s just so much I can list. And I don’t think its because people are just friendly and nice. I think its because I have invested in myself to the point that I know how to make a good impression.

Is There A Magic Trick to Making a Good Impression?

There is no magic trick to making a good impression. And there are really no short cuts. Making a good impression is something you do over and over and over again. Remember, this isn’t about a first impression. This is about a good impression, every single time, every single day, with every single person.

There are no short cuts to making a good lasting impression each and every time.

I think we get too caught up on making a good first impression, that we sometimes forget about the second, or third or fourth impression.

Every impression matters.

  • The first impression is important, but that doesn’t mean all the others aren’t.
  • The first impression will not save you from making a bad second impression.

All impressions matter. I can’t say this enough.

But making a good impression takes work. You can start making good impressions right away, but it may also take time.

So let’s get to it. Let’s talk about the factors and what it takes to make a good impression.

Factors to Making a Good Impression

Some of the things I list will be easy for you. Some of the things I list may be hard for you. Some will be free. Some will cost money.

  • Do you need to have all of these factors to make a good impression? No.
  • Do you need some of them? Probably.

Will I always make a good impression if I follow these rules? Well, these aren’t rules. They are guidelines. And a lot of life depends not only on you, but others and how they are feeling that day. All you can really do is your best and give yourself the best chance to making a good impression.

Why will this not work on everyone? Well, a good impression is a two way street. If someone is having a bad day or just a terrible person, there’s nothing you can really do. And it might not work for you personally if you don’t embrace trying to make a good impression or look for short cuts.

Well start from simple and easy and work our way down in terms of difficulty. Make sure you read the entire list!

Initial Contact

#1: Smile and look approachable

This is pretty simple. Or at least it sounds simple. But most people take it for granted.

Smiling is one of the easiest things to do. But for some reason, a lot of people are afraid to smile. It might be because they are self conscious about their smile. Or they feel weird just smiling at strangers they encounter or just meet.

Whatever the reason may be. Smiling really is an ice breaker. And it really puts people at ease.

I’m not telling you to smile like you would for a photo or keep a big smile on your faec like a clown. But learn how to smile when you first encounter people. Even if its just a half smile. Anything is better than looking like you don’t give a f*ck or like you’re pissed off.

By smiling, it makes people feel comfortable around you. They’ll think you’re friendly. They’ll think you’re approachable. And that is a great start to making a good impression.

Don’t fake a smile if you don’t have to. Try to be genuinely happy to see someone. It will come across in your smile. What you want is a warm, inviting smile.

Look like you’re having a good day. Even if you aren’t.

#2: Look people in the eyes

There’s nothing that says confidence more than eye contact (except for maybe body language, and presence and a bunch of other stuff), but eye contact is important! And you should be looking people in the eyes when you greet them and when you talk to them.

If you don’t want to be weird and socially awkward then look people in the eyes. Even if they don’t look you in the eyes.

Eye contact is attractive and exudes confidence. Especially if you combine eye contact with a warm smile.

#3: Say Hi and ask “How are you doing?”

This is really about being sincere. It goes with #1 and #2. Showing you actually care.

If you show people you care, even with a little thing like asking how are you doing, it’s going to be a more meaningful interaction than just a business transaction of get what you want and get out.

Too many people just don’t care. Every day you’ll see people at work saying “Hi, how are you” and not really care. They just say it to say it. If you start saying it because you mean it, it will come through and people will notice.

This goes beyond just a greeting. Which brings me to my next point.

#4: Listen and have a conversation

When you talk to people, you should listen. There’s a difference between just saying things to say them and saying things because you care.

Making a good impression is about showing you care, at least in that moment, about the interaction. It’s better if you care about the person (that will make an even stronger impression) but at least be in the moment and pay attention.

#5: Call people by their name or ask for their name

People love hearing their own name. And they feel important if you remember it.

Incorporate people’s names into your conversations and greetings with them. Give people nicknames if they are into that. Nothing says “I like you” like a nickname.

Alpha tip – write it down somewhere. Maybe on your iPhone with a small note about them and where you met. This will come in handy when you see the again. It also makes a really good impression because you remembering their name or them or following up on a discussion you had with them makes the other person feel important.

Look Good

You should do your best to look your best if you want people to treat you with respect.

#6: Fix your hair

A lot of people think you just need some nice shoes and you’ll be good to go. But if you have hair on your head, you should make sure that it looks good. This section is primarily for men since most women know about their hair but if not, you can also use this advice.

This isn’t just about putting product in your hair and combing it to the side.

A lot of guys don’t really know what to do with their hair. And chances are a lot of men just have the same boring haircut their entire life. Or they are too afraid to cut it short or grow it long.

What you should do is go to a salon that has good hair stylists and ask them to give you a haircut that makes you look good. Then have them show you how to style your hair so you can do it on your own.

Having good hair is a game changer from being boring/average to looking good/sexy.

Tip: To find a good hair salon, use Yelp and read the reviews or ask someone with good hair where they go and who they get their cuts from. Also going to the same hairstylist time after time gives you a consistent cut and lets someone be familiar with your style and look.

#7: Be well groomed

If you know about grooming then you’re good to go. But in my experience, a lot of men (and some women) do not know enough about grooming.

Being well groomed to make a good impression means taking care of the following:

  • Have a clean shave (you don’t have to shave everything off, just have a good shave)
  • Trim your nose hairs (yes, really)
  • Pluck your eye brows (unibrows are fun but they won’t help with a good impression)
  • Trim ear hair
  • Maybe even bleach your teeth if you have very discolored teeth (I should have included this in the smile section)
  • Wear deodorant or at least make sure you smell clean (showering is always a good thing)
  • Make sure you have good skin. Use lotions and cream to avoid dry skin and acne.

I feel like these are common sense grooming tips. But I need to write them for those unsuspecting fellows that just don’t get it.

Taking care of how you look is something you should do. Not enough people do it (men specifically). And this is how you can separate yourself from average.

#8: Smell good

I mentioned above to wear deodorant or at least take a shower. This follows up on that.

Not everyone knows they smell bad (or not good). I used to work with a guy that had really terrible B.O. (bad odor). And everyone talked about him behind his back. I tried to be a friend and tell him that he smelled bad and he should do something about it.

Everyone got upset at me. How weird.

I’m trying to save this guy the embarrassment of smelling bad and stop all the people that I knew from making fun of him behind his back, yet they get upset at me when I try to help him. Some people are just evil.

Long story short, he started smelling better and changed how he dressed. He never thanked me and always pretended like I was lying. But we all know the truth. I did him a favor and I’m not shy to admit that.

Do yourself a favor. Get some cologne – it doesn’t have to be super strong. Get some deodorant. Take a shower after you do physical activity. A shower is something you should consider doing at least once a day.

If you need help with what smells good and what doesn’t. Ask here. Or ask a friend (someone that you think would know. Maybe a girl?).

#9: Dress well

There’s dressing like you don’t care, dressing average, dressing down, and dressing to impress. Which do you want to do?

Now when I talk about dressing to impress, I’m not saying you need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars and buy the fanciest clothes you can find. I’m not even telling you to dress like a model. Just dressing right and adding your own flare to how you dress to make yourself standout (in a good way).

There’s a lot to say about dressing well and I can’t cover it here. I will put up a new fashion guide soon as well as a guide on formal wear and business casual. Eventually, I’ll have information that covers all types of events and scenarios and how to dress for each situation.

For now, just know that you do need to invest in wearing clothes that FIT, that are IN STYLE, and match your personality.

Dressing well is an investment in yourself that will pay dividends. It’s also one of the best ways to make a good impression. A well dressed man can look attractive, confident and in charge even if he is unattractive (not to be mean but not everyone is a model).

#10: Look Good

This is different than grooming and dressing well. This is about taking care of your body.

It’s sad seeing my friends get older and become lazier. Some of them have obligations now with a family but others have no real excuse. I don’t really know why people decide to just give up on being physically fit and looking good.

Exercising and eating well don’t take that much effort. But to people that don’t do this regular, it’s a task similar to working. It’s just not fun to them.

I can tell you from my own experience, I feel a lot better about myself when I get my diet and exercise on track. I also know that it makes other people look at me differently.

The benefits of having a good diet and exercising regularly include:

  • Feeling good mentally and physically
  • Feeling stronger
  • Not having extra fat on your body
  • Having a jaw line that is attractive
  • Knowing you are physically better than 99% of everyone else that you encounter (fitness and often looks wise)

If you want people to wonder who you are and how you take care of your body so well – then make sure you look good by getting in shape and eating right. It’s worth it.

Connect and Share

The initial contact and looking good are really important. That’s pretty much the first impression that people see and judge you by. But that’s not it. The rest of the interaction/encounter is just as important when making a good impression.

#11: Be Positive and lighthearted

Some people are too serious after that initial encounter with the fake smile and eye contact. Others tend to be pessimistic or negative while talking to someone else.

Things you shouldn’t do when interacting with others if you want to make a good impression:

  • Don’t gossip.
  • Don’t take things too seriously. This includes EVERYTHING.
  • Don’t get upset or annoyed at things that aren’t really worth getting upset or annoyed at.
  • Don’t get an attitude with people.
  • Don’t threaten people.
  • Don’t have a serious look on your face.
  • Don’t look like you’re bored as f*ck.

Creating a good impression is about making people feel good and making a lasting impression.

You can do this by giving compliments, joking around, laughing, and being optimistic. People like people that agree with them or have the same outlook as them. People want to be motivated and encouraged. People like good vibes and positivity.

#12: Connect with others

There’s no better way to make people feel like you “get them” and are friends with them than connecting with them.

Sometimes you can’t connect to someone that doesn’t want to open up and connect. But most often, people love meeting people that have similar interests or people that are willing to get personal and share real details (none of that high level talk like the weather).

To connect with others to make a good impression you should try to:

  • Be nice and ask questions or follow up on things the other person is saying
  • Agree with others (people like people that agree)
  • Get personal (share details with people such as talking about your day instead of just saying it’s good)
  • Connect by relating to people’s stories
  • Learn to listen, share something, listen, share something…make a conversation a back and forth where you get to know them and they get to know you

#13: Be interesting

This comes from life experiences, the things you do in your life and the interests you have.

Pretty much, what I’m trying to say is don’t be boring. Easier said than done to some people.

If you’re currently trying to improve your life and absorbed in all sorts of self help, that’s cool. But don’t make your life all about self-help. It’s good to have other things that you are into also. Hobbies, things to read about on the internet, things to do in real life.

When you’re interesting, you won’t be boring. And this allows you to have stories to share with others. Your stories might not be exactly the same as someone else’s, but that’s the good thing. If your stories were the same then you would have nothing interesting to share 🙂

This isn’t about having a cool lifestyle (although you could), it’s not about traveling the world and wrestling lions (although you could)….it’s about having things to talk about and having things to do.

Life is about living. And when you live you will be interesting. This can be as simple as going out to dinner or a party or having plans this weekend.

And if you aren’t interesting, what can you do? Start coming up with a list of things you would like to do and start doing them 🙂

Then when you talk to people, you’ll have interesting stories that will be memorable and help you make a good impression.

#14:  Be prepared

Making a good impression is not just about being nice and looking good but it’s about doing your homework.

You don’t want to look like an idiot.

I know that may sound a little harsh to some of you guys but making a good impression also includes being prepared and knowing what you’re talking about.

You can’t make a good impression if are a complete phony.

To be prepared, educate yourself on what you’re about to do. Or practice. Being prepared means different things for different scenarios.

  • If you’re about to do a speech or presentation, practice before hand
  • If you’re going to an interview, prep
  • If you’re going to a meeting, know something about the topic and bring materials you may need
  • If you’re going to negotiate something, know some background

If you want to do well at something, you have to put in the time. If you want to make a good impression, you have to be prepared.

#15: Be open minded

Too many people aren’t open to ideas or suggestions other than their own. And this turns people off.

If you’re going to fight and argue with every suggestion that isn’t your own, then people will not like you and this will make for a bad impression. No one likes confrontation and no one likes someone that is difficult.

I’ve seen it too many times where someone always has an excuse or a reason why something won’t work rather than keeping an open mind and at least trying it out before making a conclusion.

No, you don’t need to do everything that someone tells you to do. But there’s no reason to be defensive or not open to other ideas. You can’t always be right. Please remember that.

#16: Be a good storyteller

I put being a good storyteller last for making a good impression, but it should be the most important.

I believe being a good storyteller is one of the best things you can do to make a good impression and perhaps trumps anything on this list.

A storyteller can captivate an audience, they can motivate one person or a group of people, and they can make people believe in their vision. A storyteller can inspire and make you believe anything is possible.

If you can become a good storyteller that brings people into your world or into your story. You will make not only a good impression, but a great impression.

People love stories.

Being a good storyteller takes a lot of work and eventually we will go into the methodology of doing this. Until then, just know that if you can grab someone’s attention and tell them story that makes them say “wow” you can pretty much guarantee you’ve made a good impression.

Now You Know

This simple guide has become a little bit longer than I expected. And the number of factors listed more than I thought. But I think it really covers what it takes to create a good impression.

A good impression isn’t created by your wealth or by bragging. It isn’t created by the people you know or by being pretentious. It’s about being a really good person that makes a lasting impression or impact on someones day.

Creating good impressions day after day require work. It may require you to change some habits or other things in your life.

Creating a good impression may require you to invest some money into yourself or some time into looking better.

You may need to learn how to do things differently in order to create good impressions with the people you encounter. But once you begin to make good impressions, your life will be so much better.

If you have any questions or additional suggestions on making a good impression, leave a comment below.

And always remember to Be Bold. Be Alpha. 

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  • Terry

    This was an awesome article. I struggle with things to talk about because I do nothing on the weekends and work all week. It’s hard to go out when you have no friends. This is coming from a 28 yo guy btw. Tried meetup but nothing close that interest me.

    Also I’d love the article on telling a story because I run out of things to say after hello, how are you? Thanks.