5 ways to make a great first impression in English

First impressions count. Whether it’s meeting new business contacts, impressing a potential employer in an interview, or simply meeting new friends, the initial impression you give affects what people think of you for a long time. Making a great impression in English is easy, as long as you are confident, polite, and follow these five simple tips.

1. Be courteous

In English-speaking countries, shaking hands is the most common way to greet people the first time you meet them. Shake the other person’s hand firmly, but don’t grip too tightly and say “It’s nice to meet you” or “Pleased to meet you”. Say it with confidence and a smile, and you’ve already taken the first step in making that good impression.

2. Make small talk

Follow up on your introduction by asking your new acquaintance some general questions. We call this making small talk. If this is a personal relationship, you can ask about their job: “So what do you do?” If this he or she is a business acquaintance, perhaps you can simply ask, “So how’s business?” Be sure to listen carefully to their response, offer your opinions and ask more questions.

3. Give a compliment

As you get to know the person, find a way to compliment him or her. If you’ve heard that their work is excellent, you can say, “I’ve heard great things about your work!” Or, in a more social situation, you may want to compliment an aspect of your new friend’s appearance: “I just love your earrings! They look good on you.” Remember, though, it’s not appropriate to comment on how a person’s body looks in English so limit comments about appearance to clothes, accessories and hair. Compliments always make people feel good, and you’ll find the recipient will be impressed with your friendliness and thoughtfulness!

4. Arrange to stay in contact

Before your conversation ends, be sure to show that you want to continue your relationship. In business, you could ask, “Can I give you one of my cards?” In social situations, you may want to extend an invitation: “Would you like to have dinner with us tomorrow?” Be sure your new acquaintance knows you have enjoyed their company, and you would like to see them again.

5. Say a kind goodbye

When it’s time to part ways, make sure you say kind words about the time you spent together. Depending on the formality of the situation, you may want to shake hands once again while you say, “It was a pleasure meeting you.” or “It was nice getting to know you. Let’s do this again soon.” As you say goodbye, remember to smile once again and maintain eye contact.

Congratulations! You’ve just made a wonderful impression in English!