. How to Master First Impressions | Successful Meetings

How to Master First Impressions

How to Advance Your Career

Life can change in an instant. And thanks to first impressions, so can your career. It all comes down to one simple fact, author Harvey Deutschendorf attests in an article for Fast Company: whether or not people like you.

"You need new contacts to see you as interesting, competent, professional and potentially valuable to them -- but if they don't also find you likable, nobody will feel motivated to reach out later and work with you," Deutschendorf says. "Likability is a key ingredient in [professional success] … But when it comes to first impressions, you don't always have much time to get people to like you."

To win people over quickly when you meet them, start by complimenting them.

"If you notice something about the person you've just met that you can compliment them about, do it right away," Deutschendorf suggests. "If not, ask a question or two that can lead to information you can later compliment them on."

Questions are important, according to Deutschendorf, who says you should ask at least two open-ended questions of new people when you meet them.

"Conversations often die quickly or turn into monologues when they aren't propelled forward by good questions," he notes. "When someone starts talking about something they enjoy, use that as an opening to ask more: 'How did you get into that?' 'What do you like most about it?' Since it's something they're clearly dying to talk about it, don't just ask yes/no or simple factual questions that might cut off their chance to really dig into it … On a subconscious level, you'll quickly become somebody they remember liking and will want to be around."

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