This is a guest post by my friend Armen Shirvanian, @Armen.
Leaving an impression on others is something that is not so easy to do, in a global society where most would like to make as big of an impression as possible. If you want to impress others, you mostly likely have to “hustle, crush it, and go big”, as Gary Vaynerchuk said in this comedy video. However, the specifics of how to do this in various ways are not so obvious, and so they are described in this 25-item list. Use of each example will leave the person or people you are dealing with thinking about you in a better light.
1. Stay Focused When Others Take It Easy
This one is easy to notice. There are times when most of the folks in a group start to take it easy. The few who don’t are easily picked out of the bunch. It is in your best interests to get a feel for when those around you are becoming relaxed or comfortable, as that is your chance to jump out like a dancer getting onto the stage.
Taking it easy is easy. This is why it is not worth much in the eyes of others. Real focus takes energy, and can be improved upon. If you want to impress, you can’t let up as quickly as others. Although this is partially competition-based, it is more about pushing a little bit against your limits, as we all are similar in this aspect.
2. Underpromise And Overdeliver
How do you do this? You keep yourself from telling 20 people you are going to do things for them, ending up only doing the things for 5 of them, and instead tell 5 people you will do things for them, and do them a little better than you described. This way, you have a higher percentage of folks believing in your reliability.
In this post by Bud, he mentioned how Glen said that he was “so unreliable” when he didn’t come through on his plans for him. This is something to keep in mind. When you limit how many things you are doing for/with other folks, you can do each one better than you said you would, providing a welcome surprise for the other person.
3. Lead By Example And Not By Words
Here is a solid way to get people looking at you and what you do. Let’s say I am talking about waking up early on a regular basis. This discussion has much more weight if I am actually waking up early on a regular basis. When you say one thing is good, but don’t do it, some folks think you may be manipulating them, even if you didn’t actually say you do it.
This wouldn’t be the case if manipulation wasn’t prevalent, but since it is, you have a bigger opportunity to impress others by leading the way through your actions. It is like there is an open field of room for those few who perform actions, and then a huge cubicle for those who only use words to battle inside of. The open field is much more appealing.
4. Plan Out The Details Of An Event
There is no one out there that doesn’t like it when you plan for an event. Whether this involves setting the time of the event, or getting gas before a long trip, or picking the restaurant to meet at, this is your chance to impress everyone. When the event is over, everyone will remember that you set it up, and planned out its components, before it was even certain it would occur.
Even if there is someone else who has their own idea of what the plans should be, it is not like they are going to be disappointed in you for having your own. Most likely, they will want to merge theirs with yours in some way, because your effort will have impressed them, and they won’t want to negate the thought you have put in.
5. Initiate Contact First
Everyone likes to hear from others. Even the folks who act like they are annoyed when hearing from others actually enjoy shrugging them off or rejecting them. When you are looking to talk to someone, being the first to initiate the conversation impresses them, as they can see that you weren’t afraid of coming off as foolish, and valued their communication as well. Just as a girl is likely to not feel as attractive if the boy she likes doesn’t make an effort to ask her out, people are likely to feel less valuable or relevant when less individuals are initiating contact or conversation with them.
You really can’t lose when you initiate contact first, because you then have control of the conversation, and control means that there is no way you can get hurt in the process. This builds your self-esteem, and the person you contact will remember that you made the effort to talk to them. Even with use of technology to contact others, it still depends on taking that initial decision-based risk.
6. Don’t Lose Your Cool In Tense Situations
This one is a huge opportunity. When there is a tense situation, or argument of some type, whether you are directly involved or situated as a bystander, keeping your cool lets everyone know you are very strong in mind. It is very easy to lose your cool in a tough or argumentative situation. Usually, when something is very easy, it is not impressive in any shape or form. The word “impressive” is much more associated with the word “hard” than the word “easy”.
What you do in a tense situation says a lot about your limits. People take note of how far the pressure or social discomfort around you goes until you lose your control of yourself and the situation. President Obama had a joke in his speech at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner where he said “In the next 100 days, I will strongly consider losing my cool”. Keeping your cool in good and bad times lets people you know you have a mind of steel.
7. Buy Expensive Things
This is one of the most costly ways to impress others, and it is very temporary. If you spend a lot of money on some certain items that are in demand, like jewelry, or a flashy car, or so on, you can impress certain people for a short period of time. This is a very expensive way to impress others though, and will also create some folks who are unimpressed by your attempt to impress them. A new car model is only the latest model for one year.
8. Come Slightly Early To A Gathering
When you come on time, or early, to a gathering, you are showing that you take the other person/people and their time seriously. This will remain notable in their minds, as they will know you thought of them during the time you were getting ready to arrive early. Going late shows more of a concern for not looking bad, as opposed to concern for the other involved.
It impresses others to know that you have your life in order enough to be where you say you will be at the time when you say you will be. This is not a small thing, as people rise to greatness based on simple things(which are harder than they seem) like being on time to gatherings and functions. You can get labeled as “professional” just based on this alone, and the person labeling you would be accurate as well. Just as the first result in a Google search gets the highest percentage of click-through, the earliest folks at a gathering are usually the most concerned and influential(aside from any of that ‘fashionably late’ garbage).
9. Bring Things That Others Might Need
An example of this would be bringing bottles of water for others you are going hiking with. They might bring their own, but that is one way to do this. You could also bring fruits or nuts for the group. If you’re going to a couple of places in a new county with someone, you could bring along a couple of printed maps of the area so you don’t get lost.
Thinking ahead to provide for things that others might end up wanting will make them feel much more welcome and fitting. It shows that you are glad they came, and can fulfill a need or desire they have. They will know that you rise to a higher standard of mutual consideration.
10. Stay Consistent In A Skill/Activity Of Yours
This one is a continually impressive item. If you have a skill, and stay consistent in using it, this will grow more and more. If you are great at computer networking, and continually work at building up your computer networking experience and knowledge, there are people who will be impressed more and more by your consistency.
The same is true of if you have some habit like running every night at 7 PM. If you keep this habit up for weeks or months, people will start to take notice of your strength in maintaining it. They will know that as your “running time”, and keep that time in mind to either leave you alone or attempt to join you, out of respect for your regularity.
11. Be The One Who Does The Busy-Work Sometimes
Sometimes there are little odd and ends to do like taking garlic out of cloves, or looking up a concept on Wikipedia or Google, or watering some fruit plants. Doing these things shows others that you’re not too big in your own mind to do them. When you are already handling the big things, and are not against doing the small things, others will know you’ve got the whole package.
12. Present Yourself In A Way You Haven’t Before
If you always present yourself to others in a serious way, and they are used to that by now, it would make a statement for you to try to start casually the next time you are with others, and maintain that during the rest of your conversation. This would show them that you are not limited to a certain tone. While we generally present a personality that we gravitate towards, there is no reason we can’t act in a different way. Others will be interested because acting a different way keeps us out of being in a routine box.
13. Send A Letter Instead Of An E-mail
This is not to say that sending someone an e-mail can’t have an impact, but since this is about impressing others, sending an actual letter would be a bit more fitting. This only works for those people that you have the mailing address of, but if that is the case, it would be a real welcome surprise for them to receive a personal letter in the mail. It is pretty uncommon for most folks.
You can probably remember the last personal letter you got in the mail, even if it was a year ago that you picked it up from the mailbox. You can provide that same good feeling to someone else, and they will not forget you.
14. Beat One Of Your Past Records
If it can work for Olympians to impress people when they beat their own personal records, it can work for you as well. Beating your past mile running time, or amount of books read per month, or days in a row eating healthy food will be impressive to anyone you let know about it as it occurs. People like to hear about winning streaks, so when you beat your previous record in some category, let them know, and they will know you are moving upward.
15. Put Yourself In The Other Person’s Mind
There could be a lot more empathy in our society. When you show it, you instantly get a +1 from the person you are talking with, because you put the effort in to feel how they feel. Instead of looking at them like some other creature, putting in the thought to understand their position, and looking to get along with them better, makes a big difference.
Others are not that different from us. The few who realize this, and make an effort to see why any social problems are occurring, are the few who build a continually larger group of people who are on their team.
16. Expand Your Knowledge And Experience
Years of experience in some skill or ability, and years of education in some category, are what are usually seen as factors of importance. A person who has 5 years of experience in a certain function or duty is usually impressive to those who have less experience, and also to those who are not even in the same category of utility. The number of years alone can be enough to cause others to take notice.
This item takes a long while longer to make an impression on others, but it is always worth it. It might not provide returns in one year, or in two years, but at some point down the road, you will have an increased socio-economic profile, known to be related to improved health and well-being.
17. Give Something Without Expecting Anything In Return
This is powerful because it confuses or stays in the mind of most folks. When you do something for someone, and don’t indicate that you expect something back, they usually wonder what is going on. We are so used to exchanges that one-sided provisions catch us off guard.
There is plenty of opportunity for this. Find someone you can do something for, and do that thing for them, and leave it at that. This is harder than it sounds, because the mind starts thinking of what it will receive, but if that end of the thought process is quieted, you can have a substantial impact, and maybe lead to a cycle of giving, which runs more smoothly than any other type, as long as it keeps going.
18. Point Out Something Personal About Yourself
When you point out something personal, you are showing some amount of trust in your listener. You are trusting them to not attack you based on the information, right after you say it, or at a later time when you are not there. It says that you value them enough to let them in on some information that can make you vulnerable.
This will get the attention of your listener, as they most likely will not want to let you down in some way. It is almost an indirect compliment to let someone know something personal about you, and very few people would respond to a compliment with some plan to use it against you.
19. Do A Regular Thing In A Different Way
This could range from tying your shoes some certain way, creating music with a wacky type of background melody, adding cooked toppings like onion, garlic, and tarragon to your spaghetti, saying a different greeting to people than your normally do, or so on. Any of these things will be interesting to those you deal with.
Novelty-seeking is something we always praise when we see it in another person, and look to have it in ourselves. We always compliment folks who travel more, and who try out new activities, because they are opening their minds up in the process. You can do the same with things you already do.
20. Have A Great Trait/Skill And Be Modest About It
This one is sure to impress, as people who have certain skills are often too glad to point them out repeatedly. While that is not so bad, being modest about a special skill or two that you have can get others thinking that you are on a different level than most people. It makes it look as though your skill is not a big deal to you, which has more impact than trying to show it off to others.
If you are good at reading comprehension, and regularly remember and pick up on details from books that most would forget, but don’t point this out when questioned about it, some will start to think much more highly of your intelligence. On the other hand, if you brag about your reading skills, you’ll probably just get ignored.
21. Introduce One Person To Another
Bringing two people you know together is something that probably only you can do for those two specific people. They might not know each other, but they both know you, and so you are the common thread who has an opportunity. When you introduce one person to another, they will both see you in a new light. They will see that you were thinking of each of them.
This makes people a bit more personal with you. They see another person you associate with, and see that you are not hiding your relationship with them. This can only strengthen your reputation. Also, the more you show of yourself and your relationships, the less potential you have for future regret.
22. Give A Person A Gift That Is Specific To Them
During times like birthdays and holidays, there is the act of gift-giving that can be in place. When you are getting someone a gift, it makes a real impression for them when it is specific for them. Getting a person a random bestselling book is alright, but getting them an economics book that is likely to expand upon their current interest of economics goes a big step further.
Just as we have certain gifts we would want more than others, the same is true for them as well, and so taking this into account can lead you to provide some great gifts that show more guided purchasing and thought.
23. Say The Thing Everyone Else Is Thinking
When you are in a group of some sort, there are usually items that most of the people in the group are thinking, but that no one says, out of fear, or worry of offending someone, or so on. The fear and worry is usually preventing helpful items from being said. If you take the risk, and say those things others are holding back from, you will build self-esteem, and will also notice that everyone is glad that you said them.
I haven’t seen one example of where I said something that I felt everyone in a group was thinking that led to a bad result. We are very connected to each other in various ways, the most important of which is our thoughts.
24. Don’t Try To Impress Anyone
Most of what we do works in opposites. When we don’t try to attract someone, they tend to become more attracted to us. When we are the quiet person in a room, people indirectly hear us louder than the loud person in the room. The person who makes a class look the easiest is the one who studies alone the hardest.
Along with these is the idea that if you don’t try to impress others, you will actually impress them more. People partially expect for others to try to impress them. We get used to folks exaggerating details in their stories to get more of a reaction, and the news doing the same with current events. Therefore, if you don’t exaggerate, and stick to presenting yourself as you are, people who matter will be even more impressed.
25. Run A Site Like DragosRoua.com
If you don’t understand this one, you haven’t been paying attention. DragosRoua.com is growing by leaps and bounds due to the owner and writer of this site, John Michaels. I’m just kidding there. It turns out that Dragos Roua is running, and writing for, DragosRoua.com. From the continual effort put out, to the warmth he presents, the package here is an impressive one.
What Do You Think?
These are many ways that came to my mind of how to impress others, or make a lasting impact in their thoughts. Do any of these examples bring up a personal example to your mind? Can you think of any other ways to leave an impression on others? Let us know in the comments.
Armen Shirvanian writes words of wisdom about mindset, communication, relationships, and related topics at Timeless Information. You can follow him on Twitter at @Armen.