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  • Writer's pictureLiza Engel

The Power of First Impressions - Mastering the Art of "Hello"

"You had me at hello." This memorable line from the movie Jerry Maguire captures the magic of first impressions - even if you don’t look like Tom Cruise. It's not just in films where the power of an introduction shines; it applies equally to the grand stage of life and everyday encounters. Whether stepping onto a stage to speak, walking into a job interview, or simply saying hello to a new neighbour, how you introduce yourself can set the tone for the entire relationship that follows.

As an expert communicator, I've learned that the art of introducing oneself effectively can open doors and create meaningful connections.

If you live to be 85, you might introduce yourself more than 70,000 times in your life! Consider this staggering number for a moment. With every introduction, you are not just saying your name but opening the door to potential relationships, opportunities, and collaborations. If you introduce yourself that many times, think about how many times others introduce themselves to you. Each of these moments is an opportunity to leave a memorable impression. It's worth refining how you introduce yourself, ensuring that each greeting showcases your best self. By perfecting your approach, you make each of these thousands of interactions count, setting the stage for meaningful connections that could enrich your personal and professional life.

Photo by Octavian Dan on Unsplash

Here's a simple guide to making every introduction impactful. To help you remember this, let’s use the acronym HELLO:

H - Humility: Start with a humble attitude (says the Canadian in me). Acknowledge the other person's presence and importance. This doesn't mean downplaying your accomplishments; it's about showing genuine interest in the other person. A humble approach makes people feel valued and sets a positive, respectful tone.

E - Eye Contact: Make eye contact when you greet someone. This simple gesture is a powerful way to convey sincerity and confidence. It helps establish a connection and shows you are fully present and engaged in the interaction.

L - Language: Use clear, concise language free of jargon. Tailor your introduction to the context and the audience. Whether it's a professional setting or a casual encounter, your words can either draw people in or push them away.

L - Listen: Give the other person a chance to speak after introducing yourself. Active listening is crucial. Pay attention to their words, tone, and body language. This not only shows that you value what they have to say but also provides insights into who they are.

O - Openness: Be open and approachable in your body language and expressions. Your toes should be pointing to them. A warm smile or a friendly nod can go a long way in making others feel comfortable. Openness in demeanour encourages others to be open in return, facilitating a two-way dialogue.

Making a memorable introduction is an art that combines sincerity and the ability to be present in the moment. Every time you say hello, you have a new opportunity to create a positive impact. Remember, first impressions aren't just about making yourself known; they're about inviting a connection that could last a lifetime.

I invite you to think of these HELLO steps the next time you prepare to step onto your stage, whether it's the boardroom, a networking event, your local coffee shop or even a date! They could be the difference between a missed opportunity and a meaningful engagement or relationship. You, too, can have them with a simple and memorable "hello".

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