Whether you’re meeting new people or preparing for an interview, there are qualities that you don’t want to display. However, in spite of how hard you may try, impromptu encounters seem to demand that you slip to say something you wish you didn’t or do something you want to take back.
The majority of an interview or first meeting requires the use of words. Most likely both parties will want the best results from this meeting whether it concludes with a new friend or a new employee; and despite how hard you may try to impress, it’s inevitable that one wrong word or sentence may be the majority of what’s remembered. One piece of advice I’ve received at an internship is to never start a sentence with phrases that diminish your credibility such as, “I think…” and, “This may be wrong, but…” This shows that you are not confident and are afraid to speak your mind regardless of how great your idea may be. Even if you’re asked a question that you may now know the answer to, it is wiser to be honest and say you don’t know, but you’ll find out because it shows initiative. Michelle Lu, a student going to the University of Pennsylvania advises to never say, “To be honest…” She states, “It implies that you haven’t been a truthful person until now.” Last is to never complain because it shows you are narrow-minded and short-tempered.
It is commonly said that actions speak louder than words, so in addition to thinking before speaking, it is imperative to get the right message across through your behavior. For instance, a lawyer currently working at a private law firm says, “My pet peeve is when someone shows up late to a meeting. Whether they’re future partners or an employee showing up late to a prior set meeting shows they are either lazy or pretentious. Time is invaluable and wasting it shows inconsideration; someone who does will never be someone I want to be acquaintances with or work with.” Something that goes along with this is to never set your phone on the table because it may translate to the other party that your phone is more important than the current situation. Lastly, eye contact is the most important way to uphold throughout a conversation. Inconsistent eye contact shows anxiousness, no focus or interest, and no respect.
Although it may be impossible to avoid all “fatal mistakes,” there are major turnoffs that should definitely be avoided such as those above. To ensure a successful first impression, it is essential to reflect on bad habits and keep them in check.