The DO’s and DON’Ts of Making a Strong First Impression

Ever have that awkward moment when you remember somebody, but then they reach out their hand to shake yours like they’ve never met you? Either they have a really bad memory (which can often be the case), or you made a mediocre first impression. There was nothing you did to make it a memorable experience, so why should they remember you?

When meeting someone for the first time, you want to stand out. Be careful now, when trying to be bold, you can either make a really good first impression or a horrible one. Here are some of the DO’s and DON’Ts of first impressions.


  • Shake their hand like you mean it. None of that sissy half-hand shake either. A firm handshake will speak wonders about your confidence.
  • Make eye contact. No one likes to talk to somebody who is looking at the ground, it’s weird.
  • Smile, it’s contagious. If you make someone happy upon first meeting them, they are more likely to remember you.
  • Build Rapport. Find some way to connect with the person you just met. You can say How ‘bout the weather? or What are your plans for the weekend? all you want, but that won’t make you stand out in conversation. If you find a topic you are mutually interested in, you can have a memorable chat that you can bring up the next time you see them.
  • Leave in a memorable way. Depending on the situation, you want to exit with a bang. If it is a job interview, make sure to genuinely thank them for their time. If it is someone you meet in passing and will most likely run into again, try saying something funny when departing (unless you don’t have a sense of humor… then you should stop reading my blog).


  • Don’t assume anything. If you think someone is pregnant upon first meeting them, don’t say that… just don’t. Don’t call someone sir or ma’am if there is any chance of mistaking their gender. Don’t yell when speaking to an elderly person because you think they may be hard of hearing. The list goes on and on.
  • Don’t act crazy. The first time you meet someone sets the tone for how they think of you from that moment on. If you are having an off day and feel like running around in your birthday suit with a bottle of vodka and screaming something about unicorns, consider doing it in the confidence of your own house.
  • Don’t forget to brush your teeth. Personal hygiene is pretty important these days, and you don’t want someone you just met to think of you as bad breath girl/boy.
  • Don’t stare. Let’s say the person you just met has an awkward mole smack dab in the middle of their forehead. They are perfectly aware of it I’m sure, so no need to stare at it to make it more known.
  • Don’t tell your life story. Although this person may seem like a great listener, they probably don’t want to hear about how your boyfriend/girlfriend dumped you, you lost your job, and your dog died all in one week. Go write a country song instead.

Making a first impression is vital, but you have to make sure you’re not being remembered for the wrong reasons.  Sometimes are only conscious of how they are acting in situations like interviews, for example. However, it’s important to always be on top of your game. In today’s world where there are six degrees of separation, you never know what connections you could gain from the person you meet at the grocery store.

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” -Anonymous


8 thoughts on “The DO’s and DON’Ts of Making a Strong First Impression

  1. These are great tips to remember. I always feel like I don’t make the greatest impression because I’m a quiet person, kind of hate small talk usually, but at the same time I do try to make conversation and listen to what the other person’s saying. Who knows. 🙂 I enjoyed your post 🙂

    • Samantha I’m very quiet when first meeting someone usually, and some people can take that as being stuck up when in reality it’s just being shy! I totally know where you are coming from in that aspect.

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. Hi Kati,

    Excellent advice as always, but there is one more thing I want to add, which I have seen many times in mixed settings:

    If you are man and meeting a woman for the first time DO NOT do the following:
    Alternate your attention between her boobs and her face
    Stare only at her boobs
    Smile broadly as you watch her walk away

    I have seen this from all types of men regardless of education, age, social standing, you name it.

    Be encouraged!

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