How to make a great impression during the “new normal”

There are a lot of things that have changed in the last few months. Our workplaces, our social lives, and how we meet and connect all look different. Even with all the changes, the need to intentional about making a good first impression is still very much a matter of importance.

Lisa Mitchell, Communications Expert & Founder of Power Body Language, shares how we can make a great impression during this “new normal.”

The basic goal of making a good first impression hasn’t changed

Your first impression is still an important communication tool that can work in your favor or against you based on how it’s executed. The goal of the first impressions is to help build connection and trust, and hopefully to open up the opportunity for additional conversation and consideration. Even in our modified mid-pandemic world, that purpose hasn’t changed.

You Have To Try A Little Harder Now

Prior to increased safety measure like wearing masks and keeping more distance between us, it was easier for people to form a positive first impression of you because they could see your full face, including all of your smiles and expressions, and you could use greetings such as handshake or hugs to create connection and warmth upon meeting someone new.

Now, we have to modify how we greet and connect and that can make it harder for people to get those important cues to go towards making a positive first impressions. Here are a few communication tactics you can use to help compensate for the loss of full facial expressions and physical contact:

1) Instead of an unmasked smile: Focus on maximizing the fullness of your genuine smile, activating the upper cheeks and eyes so your smile can still be “read” even behind a mask.

2) Instead of shaking hands or hugging: use a gesture of acknowledgement such as a wave and partner it with a head nod or eyebrow raise and smile to show that you are greeting someone in a genuine way.

3) Instead of standing close to someone, maintain a safe social distance but position your body to “square up” with them to show that you are fully engaged, listening, and giving them your full attention.

4) Use your words and “Vocal Power” to clearly state your intention and to show emotionality and warmth in our spoken presence when meeting someone. Don’t be shy about telling someone that you’re so happy to meet them, that you appreciate their time, and that you’re ready to connect and make good use of the opportunity to connect.

5) Make sure you communicate clearly in your writing with tools like, especially if English is your second language.

The “new normal’ requires us to be more intentional and thoughtful when working to make a good first impression. With a little effort and a few good communication tactics, you can still make meaningful connections.

Adapted from an article written by Amber Hankins first published on on June 9.