By Alexandria Sese > Sophomore > English > University of Illinois at Chicago, Photo courtesy of Dale Carnegie Ways
To gear yourself into making a good impression you have to see yourself as a brand, says presentation and communications coach Carmine Gallo. “How you walk, talk and look reflects brand,” says Gallo. With a few simple rules, you can successfully promote yourself to employers, professors and even your peers.
“Being warm and approaching gives a better impression,” says Dr. Ann Demarais, founder of First Impressions, a communications coaching service. Engaging in a social situation will make you more approachable and more memorable.
Dress to impress
“Dress a little better than everybody else,” says Gallo who observed in companies that he coached that upper management employees decidedly dress better that lower management employees.
Watch out for neutral reactions
Neutral reactions like not smiling can make you appear standoffish. “Even neutral reactions can be perceived as ‘You don’t like me?’” says Demarais, co-author with Valerie White of First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You.
Find the bias
“There’s a lot of bias in an interview,” says Demarais. As a psychologist specializing in interpersonal communication, she observes that people tend to have a positive bias towards other individuals they find a certain allegiance to. Whether it is having the same favorite hobby or sports team, finding a common ground between you and the other person can be to your advantage.
Show a little curiosity
It works to your advantage to show interest for your interviewer.“Shine interest on them,” says Demarais. “In general, people find that more charming.” Ask your interviewer about their job or about the company. Not only will it show your interest in the job itself, but it also makes them an active part of the conversation. Demarais also suggests asking the interview for feedback about your qualifications after the interview.
In addition to Demarais’ suggestion, being observant can also work for you. “When I’m talking or interviewing someone in their office I make mental notes,” says Gallo. “Something in their office is their passion.” These clues can point you to your common ground.
Focus on the other person
If you are the one trying to make the good impression, why should much of your effort revolve around the other person? Demarais says that human beings are social creatures who look for self-affirmation. Focusing on the other person makes them feel good about being around you. “Successful people are responsive,” Gallo agrees.
Talk in threes
Gallo, author of The Presentation Secret of Steve Jobs, suggests organizing your thoughts and deliver them in groups of three. Short lists of talking points are easier for other to remember whether it’s in an interview or a meeting.
Master effective communication
Gallo observes that many students out of college tend to speak in slang. “It doesn’t differentiate you,” he says. “Have the courage to speak simply and clearly.”
With the simple rules and a dose of confidence, you can accomplish this and leave not just a good impression but a lasting one.