Top 3 tips for making a great first impression

Whether it’s at a networking event, a job interview – or even a first date – first impressions are made quickly. It has been said that one tenth of a second is all it takes for a judgement to be made, so being ‘congruent’ with what you wish to communicate is important. 

We caught up with UNSW graduate and Senior Executive Coach Tom Loncar to ask his top tips on making great first impressions during his decades of experience in the industry – including what to do if things don’t go so well...





Tom’s Top 3 Tips

  1. 1. Lead with a smile

“In addition to supporting your own positivity, a genuine, context-appropriate smile will open doors to communicating with others.”




    1. 2. Hone and own your posture
    2. “It can really influence your confidence. For example, feel how you are sitting or standing now; are you ‘constricted’ or ‘expansive’? If you’re uncertain, then Amy Cuddy (a social psychologist from Harvard) has a TED Talk called “your body language shapes who you are” that’s well worth a look. Increased body awareness can be really useful, and empowering.”

  1. 3. Be curious, be interested and ask questions

“Move the spotlight from yourself to others; people love to talk about themselves. In addition to questions based on ‘research’ (e.g. company-specific questions for a job interview), use more general but atypical open-ended questions (e.g. ‘what do you most love about your role?’), and you’ll begin to grow your conversational literacy.”

And if all else fails?

“Don’t dwell and overthink it. Time spent ruing is wasted time, and whatever you think you fluffed may have not even been noticed (or perceived badly) by the other person. Get back in the moment with whomever you’re with.”


So there you have it! Some great tips for making a great first impression – now get out there and show ‘em what you’re made of!

Want to find out how to pick the best career for you? We've got you covered!

Tom Loncar is an executive coach and mentor. He has worked with senior executives, executive teams and high potentials across many sectors, and expands on his developmental ideas as a regular contributing writer on leadership for the Australian Financial Review and BOSS magazine. Tom holds an MBA (AGSM), B Ec (UTas) and is currently completing postgraduate studies in psychology and the neuroscience of mental health (King’s College London).

@TomLoncar |