First impressions do not have to be overly dramatic or gimmicky. They’re about revealing your character, motivations, abilities, and vulnerabilities. You’re asking the audience to walk in your shoes, and they don’t even know if they like you yet, let alone your taste in shoes. So establishing who you are and your own likeability is paramount.

Also, don’t forget that part of the audience’s first impression is formed before you even enter the room, so pay attention to communications that you sent before the presentation. This includes the style of the invitation, the framing of the agenda, the wording of e-mail reminders, and of course, your bio. All of these pre-presentation interactions count in creating the audience’s real first impression, so it’s important to make sure they’re appropriate and serve your objective.

Successful first impressions help the audience identify with you and your message. When you introduce yourself, all audiences will be looking for similarities and differences. It’s their nature! So, as they’re sizing you up, make these similarities and differences as clear as possible so you can get beyond this phase quickly. Focus on creating a sense of common identity between you and the people you’re trying to influence.

The audience learns a lot about you based solely on how you appear for the first time.

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