6 Easy Ways to Make a Good First Impression

6 Easy Ways to Make a Good First Impression

In almost all life situations, we want to leave a positive impression with people when we first meet them. Whether you’re establishing a new business contact or meeting your future in-laws for the first time, first impressions matter. Remember, you never have a second chance to make a first impression!

Follow these tips to make a great and memorable first impression:

1. Have a pleasing appearance. Even though attractiveness is in the eye of the beholder, it’s still important to look your best. Clean, wrinkle-free clothing, brushed and styled hair, and light or no fragrance helps most people be at their best. If you wear make-up, you know it doesn’t take much to enhance your appearance.

2. Make eye contact and smile. In some cultures, making eye contact doesn’t indicate good rapport. However, in American culture, people make positive connections with each other by looking each other in the eyes. If you don’t, the person you’re meeting for the first time may think you have something to hide!

• Also, a smile makes you look appealing and friendly. You look more open to others when you’re smiling in a natural and relaxed way.

3. Pay attention and listen. When you’re out in public or socializing at a party with new people, distractions are bound to happen. But when you’re meeting someone new, make an effort to pay attention and focus on what’s being said. When you listen well, you show genuine interest in the person.

4. Refer to the new acquaintance by name. In most situations, it’s beneficial to you to be seen as focused, a good listener, and polite. Using the new person’s name in your conversation helps accomplish all of these things. Plus, using their name will help you remember it later.

5. Initiate conversation with a positive comment. Making a positive impression means that people will have good thoughts when they remember you by something you did or said. Consider these examples of ways to start a verbal exchange with a new acquaintance:

• “Sharon, I saw the drawings you did for the local Boys’ Club campaign. They’re amazing. How did you come up with such an incredible visual?”

• “Kevin, I heard from Julie that you’re quite the fisherman. Where are the good fishing spots around here?”

• “Pam, Bill always speaks so highly of the work you do. How long have you been working at the James Corporation?”

6. Be sincere. Be yourself whenever first meeting someone. People tend to sense when others are putting up a front or behaving in ways that aren’t natural for them. Being genuine is a quality everyone wants to see. If you’re sincere, your new acquaintance will sense that.

Because you never know what might blossom between you and a new acquaintance, put in the effort to make a positive first impression. Try some of the tips above or think about techniques that may have worked for you in the past. You’ll make a great first impression and perhaps even pave the way for a successful business venture or a life-long friendship.

9 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays without Stress

9 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays without Stress

While the holidays have the power to bring some of the most joyful times in your life, they can also be the cause of a great deal of stress. The stress can stem from many different situations such as family disagreements, scheduling conflicts, and money issues.

No matter what situation your stress is coming from, it’s important to take a step back from the stress to hold onto your sanity.

Try following some or all of the following tips:

1. Get Your Shopping Done Early. When you get your shopping out of the way early, you can save yourself stress on a number of levels. You won’t be battling other shoppers during peak shopping times. You won’t have to worry about making split second decisions on gifts. You’ll also have the time to craft a budget to help make your money stretch to the best of your ability.

2. Take Time to Yourself. We often take the time to think of others during the holidays. While that’s very important to maintain, you can’t forget about yourself in the process. Remember to schedule “me” time and concentrate on winding down. In order to take good care of others, you first have to take care of your own health and well being.

3. Keep a Cool Head. While it may not be a problem with every family, sometimes the togetherness causes conflicts and clashing. Before you enter a family holiday event, tell yourself that you’ll take the high road. You don’t want an argument to ruin your chance at fun during the holidays.

4. Keep Up Your Exercise Routine. Sometimes the thrill of the holiday season can disrupt your daily routines. While a little break from exercise might not make a big difference in your physique, it might make a difference when it comes to your stress level. Try to keep up some form of exercise, as it will provide you with a release from stress.

5. Watch your Diet. It’s not fair to yourself to completely avoid indulging around the holidays, but at the same time you should always remain in control. Watch what you’re putting into your body, because large amounts of certain foods can definitely affect how you feel. The two big ones to watch are caffeine and sweets.

6. Buy Yourself a Present. While you’ve been budgeting money for everyone else, there’s no reason why you can’t buy yourself a little something. After all, you’re sure to be getting something that you want. You can even schedule yourself a massage, which is an excellent way to maintain a healthy stress level.

7. Get Enough Rest. The excitement definitely kicks in during the holidays. Sometimes you’ll lose sleep because of stress, and sometimes you’ll lose sleep because of excitement. Either way, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by concentrating on relaxation and getting to bed at a good hour. If you start a pattern of getting less than 8 hours of sleep per night, you could be setting yourself up for stress without even really knowing it.

8. Learn to Delegate. If you come to the realization that you’ve been put in charge of too many things, don’t pile on the stress – instead, delegate the tasks. Be wise enough to know when you need some help and ask for it. You can even get the kids involved with certain preparations.

9. Be Flexible. Of course you have an image in your head of how you’d like certain holiday events to play out. You also know that things don’t always go according to plan. Realize that certain things will not be perfect, and you won’t feel so much stress if things do go wrong. Go with the flow and have back up plans if necessary.

Ace Your Next Job Interview by Listening Better

Ace Your Next Job Interview by Listening Better

Active listening skills are a subtle but effective way to perform better on job interviews. Half of all communication is listening but few of us get any training on doing it well. Fortunately, listening well is relatively simple, and will become automatic once you practice the skills.

Here are some techniques that will help you acquire more knowledge and make a better impression on your prospective employer.

How to Use Active Listening for Your Job Interview

1. Recognize your limitations. Many studies confirm that we only take in half of what we hear and we forget half of that by the next day. Becoming more attentive often takes some deliberate effort.

2. Relax your mind. Most people feel anxious about applying for a new job. Take time to quiet your mind and reduce distracting thoughts. Meditate, get a massage, or listen to instrumental music.

3. Stay alert. Prevent fatigue from sabotaging your interview. Get a good night’s sleep and squeeze in some aerobic exercise beforehand. Sit up straight and dress in layers. Being chilly makes concentration more difficult.

4. Show your enthusiasm. Successful people often enjoy talking about their work, especially when they have an appreciative audience. Make eye contact and lean toward your interviewer. Let your positive feelings shine through when you describe your past accomplishments and how they relate to the position you’re seeking.

5. Position yourself as a good fit. Use the information your interviewer provides to home in on the type of candidate they’re after. Explain how your background and skills enable you to contribute and become a valued team member.

6. Take notes. People listen much faster than they speak. Take advantage of that gap to take notes and collect your thoughts. Jot down keywords and main themes rather than recording every word.

7. Keep an open mind. It pays to be flexible. Remain neutral to avoid rejecting a new viewpoint or job opportunity before you have a chance to consider it from all angles.

8. Put yourself in your interviewer’s shoes. Your interviewer may feel uncomfortable too. Empathize with their responsibility to find the right person for the job.

9. Restate key points. Summarize and paraphrase the most important messages. This will help reinforce their thoughts in your mind and show your interviewer that you are on the same page.

10. Seek clarification. Avoid misunderstandings by clarifying anything that’s unclear. A good employer will appreciate your efforts to fully comprehend their expectations.

11. Ask thoughtful questions. Use open-ended questions to elicit more information. Incisiveness also helps show that you’re a strong candidate.

Meeting the Staff

1. Get to know your supervisor. Your manager will likely play a big role in your job satisfaction. Talk about the daily routine and responsibilities. Learn about their work style and how they establish priorities.

2. Pick up valuable information from your co-workers. Try to meet some of your future associates. They can clue you in on the work environment and organizational culture. Plus, it’s usually a good sign if employees are involved in the hiring process.

3. Learn about the big picture from leadership. You may also get the opportunity to talk with some of the organization’s senior executives. Even if the time is brief, use those meetings to help get a better sense of the organization’s strategic plans and future direction.

Go to your next job interview better prepared to listen. The session will probably be more productive for both you and the people you interview with. And even if you don’t get this job, if you’ve kept your ears open, you may have positioned yourself for a different one. Active listening is one way to open up new career opportunities and build a better future.

Contemplating a Career Change

No matter what kind of work you do, don’t be surprised if there comes a time when you think of switching careers. After all, many of us have romanticized ideas about one career or another.

Maybe you always thought you’d be a teacher, a crime scene investigator, a sales clerk at that little boutique down the street, or a hospital nurse. But things didn’t go that way and you ended up doing something else instead.

However, now you’ve reached a point where you’re seriously considering a career change. Maybe you got laid off or worked for a company that closed during the economic downturn. Or you might just be looking to change what you do to earn money. Before you take the plunge, do your homework.

Consider these issues whenever you’re contemplating a career change:

1. What kind of work do you want to do? Do you have a couple of top choices or just one? If you’re considering a career change, you may already know the answer to this question.

2. Is the job you want to do within your reach? See if you can simply build on what you already know to pursue a new job.

If you’re 40 years old and have no college education and want to be a doctor, that might be an overly ambitious goal. However, if you’ve already got a bachelors’ degree in business and you want to be a nurse, you could probably complete 2 or 3 more years of education to obtain your nursing degree.

3. Does the career you want require training or education? Education requires energy and drive. Do you have that for your dream career?

4. Interview someone who has the job. Write down all the questions you have about the career path. If you know someone personally who has the job you long for, give him a call. People love to talk about what they know.

5. Research the career on the internet. You’ll find a wealth of information online on every kind of job.

6. Check into local resources. If you need coursework or technical training, find out where you can get it in your town or one nearby.

7. Look into your local prospects. Are there local jobs available in the field? Unless you’re willing to move for your job, ensure you’d be able to do the work where you’re now living.

8. Consider costs involved with re-education and training. If you have some savings, there’s nothing better to invest in than your future. Depending on the field that interests you, you might even be able to obtain grants to complete coursework or training requirements.

9. Assess your time commitment. How much time will you need to prepare to look for work in the field? Depending on the career you’re considering, you might be able to start right away. Or your dream job might require three or four years of education or training first.

10. Just do it! One of the most exciting experiences you’ll ever have is engaging in the work of your dreams. Although you might feel some initial fear and apprehension about making a career change, you’ll find yourself also full of joy and anticipating your future with great excitement.

You may already have the answers to all of your questions. You may know intuitively what’s right for you. If that’s the case, then go out there and snag your dream job! If not, spend some time looking over these suggestions and get started on your preparations. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be enjoying your new career.