It Takes Only Seconds for Others to Form an Opinion of Us – How to Make a Memorable First Impression

First impressions can set the stage for your interaction with a client or coworker — or even a whole conference room of people. You want to come across as memorable, friendly and respected when you offer a few lines about yourself, so how can you nail it every time?

According to a Princeton study, people can form judgments about others in under one second, and that’s just based on appearances. At first glance and with the following introduction, you have a short time span to establish how others see you. Here are six ways you can introduce yourself so that people remember you.

1. Describe Yourself and Why You Matter

You might be tempted to give a canned response when someone asks you about yourself and what you do. Don’t fall into the trap of responding quickly to get it over with. Rather than stopping after your name, title and location, keep your introduction going with significant details about yourself.

Communicate your value to new people, whether you’re in a meeting or networking. Go a little further than sharing information that an acquaintance could also rattle off about you. Explain your experience, give a summary of your past accomplishments and present your current goals. In the workplace, this strategy will help people recall your name and face later on.

2. Distinguish Yourself

When you work in a setting where new people drift in and out, you might begin to tune out the basic details of an introduction. And the people you meet operate in the same way. Listening is a unique concentration skill that falters when information is repetitive and begins to blend together. Set yourself apart from other introductions by grabbing people’s attention.

Break away from the repetitive or predictable pattern that most people use during a first meeting. Include why you’re passionate about your position and what you hope to accomplish through it. If you’re meeting with a client, tell them what you aim to do for them and why you’re different from the competition.

3. Watch Your Body Language

Your body language can impact someone’s impression of you just as much as your words can. People make judgments based on posture and gestures, and you probably don’t pick up on these habits and behaviors in the moment. Strive to maintain eye contact and comfortable but straight posture during an introduction.

Fidgeting, crossing your arms and interrupting can be perceived negatively, especially during an introduction. You can be remembered for the wrong reasons in this case. In the workplace, be aware of negative body language so that you can redirect your actions for a better impression.

4. Bridge Cultural Gaps

If you work with people from multiple backgrounds and cultures, you need to consider how your actions come across. In a diverse setting, you can prepare to interact with people in a polite and intentional way. While there are no universal manners, you can show kindness and positivity in your interactions.

Research international and regional differences so that you don’t accidentally offend or miscommunicate during an initial meeting. Cultural gaps aren’t easy to bridge, so thoroughly prepare before you introduce yourself.

5. Practice Beforehand

Speaking to yourself in the mirror or to a nearby pet may leave you feeling silly, but you can gain confidence when you’ve prepared a polished introduction. Repeating the right posture, gestures and verbal introduction can improve your performance.

You can effectively make a memorable impression by practicing in front of an audience, even if its a small one made up of just your friends or family. Preparing your interesting opening lines can reduce nervousness and uncertainty.

6. Consult Your Inner Circle

If you’re struggling with what intriguing facts you can share with new acquaintances, ask those closest to you. Sometimes your coworkers, friends and family can identify your strengths better than you can.

Also, ask for honest feedback from your inner circle. Open the floor to hear how you can improve your introduction and make yourself more appealing. You can benefit from accurate feedback when you implement it at your next meeting.

Be Sincere and Follow Up

Even though practice is helpful, keep your introduction authentic. One quality that people identify quickly on the first impression is trustworthiness, so your sincerity can increase your chances of being remembered.

Follow up with the people you meet so that you can lock down your face and name in their memory. This strategy, also known as the mere exposure effect, aims for creating an increasingly better opinion of you with more interaction.

Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR. Now, she's a freelance writer and career blogger sharing advice on navigating the work world and achieving happiness and success in your career. You can find her tweeting on her coffee breaks @SarahLandrum