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4 Ways to Make a Positive and Lasting Impression

by Fatin Hafizah. |

Making a positive and lasting impression can seem intimidating. There’s so much pressure surrounding it to the point that most people will either give up or just raise a white flag and say they are not good with conversations. Trust me, I used to say that too but then I realised that making excuses for myself is so overrated and just because I am bad at it does not mean that I have to keep staying bad at it. Making a positive and lasting impression is important not only because you want people to remember you but it is important because a positive and lasting impression will help influence the confidence and trust of other people towards you. So, if you need a little help in this department, here are four tips that I find useful in leaving a positive and lasting impression.

1. Remember and say their name

Remembering and saying other people’s names is seen as a sign of courtesy and respect. Whether we are aware of it or not, our names affect most of our lives and bring a lot of difference in our lives. According to these experiments, remembering someone’s name can be seen as a compliment and it will cause them to more likely be engaged in the conversation. If you are the type of person that can’t remember people’s names easily, ask them again when you get the chance to talk to them personally or when there are only the two of you.

Aside from that, it has been proven that hearing other people call your name is soothing. Take the legendary Gayle King’s interview with R. Kelly for example. When R. Kelly was having his outburst, King’s approach other than remaining calm was to say his name repeatedly to calm him down and it worked. This shows that when you take the time to remember the name of the person you’re having a conversation with, that person will naturally be more inclined to keep the conversation going as well as flattered enough for them to remember you.

2. Be an active listener and ask an open-ended question

Half of the conversation makes up listening as listening is just as important as talking. However, just listening won’t do it either; you have to be an active listener. An active listener is someone that takes part in the conversation while trying to make a rapport between you and the other person. The most important part of being an active listener is not to make any judgments or assumptions about the other person’s stories.

When you listen, try to listen from that person’s point of view and not from your point of view. If you find it a bit difficult to do, take your time and bounce the conversation back to the other person so they can elaborate more. Asking an open-ended question will help you with that and besides getting the chance to know about them better, it will also allow them to talk about themselves more and believe it or not, everyone loves talking about themselves.

Talking about ourselves can be seen as rewarding and it also makes us feel validated. By making the other party comfortable enough to talk about themselves will help make them feel heard as well as stimulates the meso-limbic dopamine system which is often associated with the feeling we get from food or money as according to this article written by Belle Beth Cooper. When you make people feel good, it is only natural for them to see and remember you in a positive light.

3. Learn and use conversation openers

Great conversation openers can lead to great conversations. Of course, simple is always the best. You can always start the conversation with “Hi, how are you?” It’s simple but it works. If you like to take it up a notch try asking “Working on anything new lately?” or “What’s new in life?” or even “Tell me what you have been up to.” These are all simple conversation starters but ones that will keep the conversation going because like mentioned in point two, people love to talk about themselves (wink).

Another great way to start a conversation is by assessing the context first. Look around the room and find something you can ask them. For example, if you are in a wedding event, you can simply start by asking, “How do you know the bride/groom?” Or if you have never been to the venue before and that is your first time there, you can ask “Did you find this place okay?” Trust me, other than food, nothing unites Malaysians together than our traffics and roads. There are always new roads to discover.

The correct conversation openers will not only help you in breaking the ice but it will also help you in keeping the conversation going. At the end of the day, it does not even matter what you talked about but it is about how the conversation flows. For example, you will often hear people say “He was easy to talk to” or “She made me feel so comfortable.” This shows that people will more likely to remember how the conversation flows rather than the topic of the conversation itself. If you want more ideas on how to start a conversation, this article written by Vanessa Van Edwards is super helpful.

4. Be compassionate and make an impactful exit

Relating to point number four, as the wise Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” After all the talk about how to start and keeping the conversation alive, this point may contradict them all but one thing you have to remember is at the end of the day, we are all humans and no humans are free from their emotions. Hence, you might have said everything right and the conversations you had were all good but nothing beats on how you make the other person feels.

So, be nice because people will always remember people who are nice to them. You can never know when you will make a difference in other people’s lives. A little goes a long way. You don’t have to compliment them all the time or push them to tell every single thing about their lives. Before exiting the conversation, you can simply say, “Thank you for sharing your story about your experience. It gave me a whole new perspective” or another simple one would just to say “You’ve made my night!” This sentence is both flattering and it will make them remember you more.

In conclusion, making a positive and lasting impression is not an easy task. It takes a whole lot of practice and it is something that you can always improve on. Throughout this whole process of navigating through conversations, I find what’s more important is to always be present, be attentive, and be nice. Nothing beats having someone giving you their full attention and of course, everyone needs a little kindness every day.

It’s okay if you can’t master the art of conversation in one day. It is a skill that needs to be honed daily. Just keep on practising and if all else fails, just be yourself and let the conversation flow naturally. If you have more tips on this topic, feel free to share it with us. We would love to hear from you!

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