Regardless of if you’re looking for a new job, networking with your peers or just trying to make some new friends, first impressions are the key to the future of your relationships.

And when it comes to your career, it doesn’t always matter how much skill you have if you don’t have the social skills to make an impression on others. If you can talk to anyone and make them feel comfortable, you can showcase your many valuable talents to them with ease.

So follow these 13 tips for a fool-proof guide to winning over anyone in no time.

1. Set a mental intention

Think about what kind of impression you’re hoping to make before you get to your event. What do you want to learn about, who do you want to connect with and what value do you think you can add to the lives of those involved? Now get out there and do it!

2. Dress the part

Scope out the dress code, but wear something you’re comfortable in. If you have an outfit that’s appropriate but you’ll be miserable wearing it all day or night, don’t torture yourself.

3. Show that you’re interested

Eye contact, follow-up questions and a listening ear are the main tools you’ll need to convince your acquaintance that you’re highly invested in what they have to say.

4. Have a 10-second-or-less intro prepared

This should be more succinct and personal than your typical elevator speech. If you can sell yourself, everything else will be a breeze.

5. Be consistent

If you’re saying how excited you are to share your idea for a new proposal, be sure you’re not slumped over or yawning every 20 seconds. Be consistent with how you act and what you say so that your most authentic self shines through

6. Play it cool

If you’re nervous, most other people probably are too. Push through that jittery feeling and instead let it fuel you to put yourself out there and lead the conversation.

7. Let your body language set the tone

Even if you stumble over a few words, if you’re positioning yourself with good body language, chances are you’ll still make an amazing impression.

8. Respect the bubble

No matter how loud or busy things are around you, be sure to leave space for others to enjoy their personal bubble without invasion.

9. Don’t come on TOO strong or scare anyone away

You shouldn’t overpower anyone, especially when you’re making a first impression. Of course be a leader, but also leave room for others to talk and for normal breaks in conversation.

10. Focus on others

Even if you’re trying to sell yourself, it’s not about you right now. Spend your time learning about others and seeing what ways you can collaborate and have mutual benefits

11. Find someone standing alone or a group of 3-4+ people

If you’re having a rough time stepping into conversations, go for one of two extremes. Join the other person standing on the wall, not socializing yet. They could be waiting for your helping hand. On the other side of the coin, join the group of three or more people and hop right in. Those group conversations are usually much less intimate and provide opportunities to hop right in when compared to trying to penetrate a one-on-one conversation.

12. Be aware of someone trying to join your conversation or talk to you

Return the favor that others gave you by keeping an eye on those around you. If you see someone who’s wanting to hop in, reach out and invite them into the conversation. You never know who they might be and what they might do.

13. Master your exit like you did your entrance

Figure out a way to smoothly exit the conversation and move on to the next one. Even if your entire conversation was great, a bad exit can leave a sour taste in someone’s mouth.

So what do you do to win over people you just met? Let us know in the comments below!

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