One the biggest mistakes people make when they’re trying to impress someone is that they assume people only pay attention to the important or “big” things they do. The reality is that the subtle little cues are far more powerful and lasting in other peoples minds. It’s the little, tiny or subconscious things that matter most such as your actions, comments, attitude, behavior and appearance. It’s the little things we do or don’t do every day that shape us in to who we are. They are typically noticed within the first 5-7 seconds of meeting someone.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Here are 20 things that might be simple but have a huge impact on the impression you leave with others.
- Dress Accordingly
Your appearance is first thing people see. They assess your entire wardrobe, looking at your clothes, hair, shoes, etc. They make assumptions about you before you even open your mouth. If you want to impress people, dress accordingly for where you are and what you will be doing.
If you’re late for something, you’re giving someone the opportunity to judge you without you even being there. If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, then be there at that time. Waiting for someone when they should already be there is frustrating and annoying and ultimately erodes your integrity and character.
- Respect Others
This includes your elders, minors, co-workers, family members, etc. This can show up in terms of opening and holding doors for others or giving your seat to someone who could use it. This can be hard when you have to be around someone who has differing opinions than you, or who acts in a way you don’t approve of. But you can still be civil. If you look for attributes you respect in people, you will find them.
- Community Minded
If you support going green, then go green in your life. If you support your local government, then attend community meetings. Support the cause in every way possible. Be a part of the things that matter to you and those things will matter to others.
- Common Courtesy
Saying “thank you” and “please” are small but powerful words that go a long way. Expressing your gratitude to people, even for the smallest acts of kindness, shows that you see the good in people; it also shows that you pay attention to the things people around you are doing and saying.
- Smile Often
Smiles are contagious. If a stranger walks past you at the store and smiles, it is a natural response to smile back. Seeing someone smile can remind others that there are things to be grateful for, that life is fun and exciting.
- Putting Your Phone Down
When you are with someone, be with them and be present. Phones are an amazing piece of technology that when used ineffectively create the biggest obstacle to connecting with another. Use your phone when it’s appropriate and never when speaking to the another person in front of you. Remember to speak clearly but definitely make eye contact with that individual.
- Be Respectful
By being honest and true with your partner, you show them that you know where your priorities are. You understand what it means to be in a healthy relationship and respect and value that.
- Active Parenting
Take time to be involved in your kids’ lives as much as possible. Get involved and participate in their daily routines often. Know what they’re interested in. Listen when they talk to you (see “Putting Phone Down” above). Be the kind of parent they know they can go to when they have questions as this will pay dividends as they get older.
- Personal Hygiene
Easily overlooked by many but some of the simplest ways to ensure you leave a good impression is to take care of the basics such as: good breath, good body odor and make sure your clothes are clean and pressed (when applicable). These are things that should be common sense, but some people really struggle with them and don’t see the value in making the efforts necessary. Talking to someone with bad breath is gross and it’s distracting as well, going out in public with someone who is dressed sloppily can impact your own public perception. Take care of your personal hygiene and people will be more focused on what you’re saying and doing instead of how you smell and look.
- Being Funny
Similar to chewing gum, humor must find it’s proper place otherwise it can be used and misconstrued in the wrong context. Lightening the mood of another person or situation can be incredibly powerful if done tastefully.
- Proper Greeting
This is dependent on where you are and who you are with and/or meeting. You probably don’t want to go in to an interview and hug your potential boss, but you should offer them a firm handshake. With close friends and family members a hug shows a level of intimacy. It shows that you love and care about them and gives you a way to physically express that. Use a degree of common sense around who, where and why – when it comes to properly greeting another individual.
- Be Passionate
Others respond and pick up on others peoples energy. Especially when it comes from an honest and passionate place. Once you know what you are playing for – go out and give it all your heart. Along the way you may stumble, you may learn some valuable lessons but you will also inevitably pick up some valuable supporters who believe in you and your goals.
- Compliment Others
Look for the good in people around you and take the time to let them know you noticed. Compliment them on their clothes, their work, their attitude, anything you can think of. The power of a compliment can positively alter another persons mood rather quickly.
- Open Source
When you have a skill or talent, share it. When you have knowledge or understanding of something others can appreciate and/or learn from, share it. Teach others and share what you know and have learned. Being a value add is much better than subtracting from those around you.
- Glass Half Full
Aim to seek the good and positive at all times. When you are positive while others around you are drawing in the drama or negativity – you have the opportunity to life others out of their misery or slump. This can be hard when times are tough, but it’s possible. Look for the solution instead of focusing on the problem. Stay positive.
- Be Authentic
Don’t build up a wall to “protect” your feelings. Let yourself feel, allow yourself to care for people which may look like a lot of different things to each individual. Speak your truth and let your voice be heard.
When you make a mistake, admit it, own up to it, do what you can to fix it and move on. Period.
- Be Informed
Be up to date on recent news, both local and global. Be informed on what’s happening outside the world in which you occupy.
The world is a big place and for many never explored to it’s fullest. Take the time to go out and meet new people, learn new cultures and make new memories. It doesn’t have to be an expensive or expansive trip. The worlds door begins as you exit yours.
The reality is that we all want to impress someone, somewhere by doing something but we aren’t always aware of how to do it or how we are perceived. Hopefully after reading this article, you have more insight on the topic and where you may want to focus your efforts moving forward.