First impressions start to form before you even speak your first words. How you enter a room reveals volumes of information about your personality and your intentions. In fact, studies suggest that most of us make major decisions about other people within the first 7 seconds of meeting, and nonverbal cues are far more influential than words alone.

It is important that we learn how to size up our surroundings and demonstrate that we are indeed likable and trustworthy. Here is a 3-part formula that will help you to work almost any room like a ninja from the moment you walk in the door.

Know the Context of the Situation

While some aspects of entering a room are universal, the exact approach will be determined by the setting. Sort out how to scale your efforts up or down.

1. Dress the part.

  • Pay attention to the dress code.
  • Your next job interview may require a business suit.
  • On the other hand, you want to avoid looking overdressed for a less formal occasion.

2. Gauge the mood of the room.

  • While it is fun to make others laugh at cocktail parties, it is usually best to save the jokes for later if you are in a more structured setting.
  • Consider the expectations and feelings of the people you are about to interact with.

3. What is your role?

  • Your behavior will be vary depending on whether you are the keynote speaker or a member of the audience.
  • A memorable entrance backfires if you upstage the person who should be standing in the spotlight.

4. Be punctual.

  • Punctuality is always preferable to being fashionably late.
  • Develop a reputation for showing respect to others by valuing their time and effort, and arrive on time.
  • Showing up a little early can make it easier to strike up conversations before the crowd breaks up into smaller groups.

Show Your Confidence

Looking strong and happy will attract others to you in any social setting. Use your attitude and body language to convey your confidence.

1. Be clear in your purpose.

  • Clearly understanding what you wish to accomplish boosts your confidence immediately.
  • You can concentrate on the benefits of an event rather than on any social anxiety.

2. Think pleasant thoughts.

  • Let your body language convey that you are glad to be where you are at this moment.
  • Start by adopting a more positive attitude.
  • See yourself having a good time and being productive.

3. Smile.

  • Everyone looks more attractive when they are smiling.
  • Practice in a mirror until it feels like a natural part of you.

4. Stand up.

  • Posture counts.
  • Hold your head high.
  • Relax your shoulders and move them back slightly.
  • Draw in your abdomen until you feel your ribcage lift a little.

5. Recover quickly.

  • It is easy to feel confident when things are going well, but what happens if you trip or find out you have food stuck in your teeth?
  • Acknowledge any mishaps quickly, smile and move on.

Show Them That You Care

You are more likely to generate favorable reactions when you take the first step and let others know that you are truly interested in them. Focus on being friendly and appreciative.

1. Check out your surroundings.

  • Scan the room instead of trying to slip in undetected.
  • Acknowledge others with a nod, a smile, or with eye contact.

2. Introduce yourself.

  • Perhaps someone will greet you at the door or you will have to break the ice yourself.
  • Unless you already know everyone in the room, make a challenge to yourself to talk with at least one new person.

3. Jump in.

  • Skip making a beeline to the buffet or bathroom.
  • Keep in mind that this is a golden opportunity to socialize and possibly advance your career while you help others feel at ease also.

4. Make a graceful exit.

  • Finish you stay with an equally dignified departure.
  • Make plans for keeping in touch with old friends and new contacts.
  • Always make a point to thank your host before you leave and follow up with a phone call or note as warranted.

Enjoy both social and business occasions more, make new friends and contacts, and grow your personal and professional networks.

Knowing how to make a good entrance will open doors to a brighter future for you.

Photo Credit: Jonathan d[-_-]b via Compfight cc