Whether it’s at a job interview or simply meeting new people, we all want to make a good impression.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with standing out (especially for all the right reasons), being accepted is also important to us.
So much so that social exclusion activates the same regions in the brain as physical pain.
This article will share the various ways that classy people manage to make a good impression.
1) Classy people watch their manners
Manners cost nothing but make all the difference.
It’s not just about minding your p’s and q’s or being on your best behavior. Having good manners is how we show each other our respect and our gratitude.
That means treating everyone with courtesy.
For example, classy people will always acknowledge the waitstaff who serve them in a restaurant by looking directly at them and saying thank you.
These simple acts of manners show we’re gracious and humble. Which is bound to make an excellent impression.
2) Classy people read the room
You’ve got to know your audience.
Sussing out the landscape you are entering makes it easier to fit in and behave appropriately.
As Annie McKee, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania puts it:
“You need to understand other people — what they want, what they don’t want, their fears, hopes, dreams, and motivations. This builds trust.”
Whilst some people seem to have a natural talent for reading the room, it’s something we can all learn.
- Observe people – paying close attention to their expressionisms and body language as well as their words
- Be sure to listen just as much as you talk
- Match people’s energy levels
3) Classy people give their full attention to others and avoid distractions
Distractions are everywhere in our busy and tech-filled lives.
But they can diminish the impact of one on one human communication.
Giving someone your full attention can be crucial to making a good impression.
That’s why you’ll never find a classy person getting out their phone at the dinner table.
They won’t absentmindedly be scanning the room as you try to talk to them.
Rather than try to multitask, they give people their full attention.
This is not only a sign of respect, but it makes people feel truly seen and heard.
4) Classy people don’t make it all about them
If we want to make a good impression there are certain things that we really should avoid.
One of those is steamrolling in and taking over the conversation.
Even if you have a vivacious and extroverted character, it’s important to make space for other people.
Research has found, especially when meeting someone new, people tend to talk about themselves a lot.
But researchers from a team of Harvard psychological scientists found this strategy isn’t a good one:
“The tendency to focus on the self when trying to impress others is misguided, as verbal behaviors that focus on the self, such as redirecting the topic of conversation to oneself, bragging, boasting, or dominating the conversation, tend to decrease liking,”
5) Classy people ask lots of questions
Instead of talking too much about themselves, classy people are inquisitive about others.
That means they use their curiosity to try to get to know people in new situations.
And it just so happens that this makes a great impression.
Basically, studies have found that we find people more likable when they ask plenty of questions.
This is magnified more so when people ask follow-up questions.
Follow-up questions are reactive, and indicate a whole other level of listening.
Because you are taking in what someone tells you, and then using that information to dig even deeper.
6) Classy people practice active listening
Asking good follow-up questions is a lot easier when you practice active listening.
This style of communication goes beyond just passively taking in what someone is telling you.
It seeks to truly understand what it is you are hearing.
That means reading between the lines, staying fully present, seeking clarity to check you’ve understood correctly, and interpreting non-verbal cues that people give off.
Because, as we’ll see next, plenty of communication has got zero to do with the words we speak and everything to do with how it’s delivered.
7) Classy people mimic body language and adopt mirroring
We all know that body language is powerful.
So it’s no surprise that we need to be mindful of it if we want to make a good impression.
But they’re also conscious of other people’s too.
Rather interestingly, research published in Psychological Science found that extroverts are more likable than introverts.
But that had nothing to do with the fact that they talked more. It had everything to do with body language.
It turns out extroverts were better at mimicking other people’s body language. And it is this mirroring of movements that subconsciously gives a good impression to others.
8) Classy people greet you with warmth
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The old school of charm works wonders.
Which is why one of the best ways to make a good first impression is simply to be kind.
Friendliness, compassion, and empathy are superpowers when you want to build strong relationships.
When we extend warmth to someone we meet it’s easier to make an emotional connection.
Rather than simply showing we’re nice, it speaks to people on a far more primal level.
Because this kindness sends a message to the amygdala in someone’s brain (aka the fight or flight center) and lets them know we’re not a threat to them.
9) Classy people give sincere compliments
Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to hear nice things?!
So it’s no surprise that throwing out a few well-placed compliments can very quickly ingratiate yourself to someone.
A classy person will use their observational powers and pick up on something unique about someone.
They can then use this to deliver a well-meaning compliment.
It doesn’t need to be over the top.
It can be a very subtle observation that shows you’re paying attention and appreciate what makes this person special.
But the key to successful compliments is, to be honest and keep it sincere.
10) Classy people never try too hard and focus on being themselves
When we want so desperately to impress, we can be more prone to falling for this faux pas:
Showing off or trying to be someone we’re not.
And the irritating part is that it so often backfires and has the opposite effect.
Because as soon as we try too hard we lose our sincerity.
We become a curated version of ourselves and no longer have the same authenticity.
They know that they are good enough as they are, so they don’t try to fake it.
They also realize that the vulnerability to show the real you is essential when it comes to cultivating powerful and genuine connections.
And in order to encourage vulnerability, classy people refrain from being judgmental…
11) Classy people are never quick to judge
Classy is a world apart from snobby.
Snobby people are always looking down on others.
They are quick to pigeonhole people and make snap decisions about them. They decide someones worth based on superficial or unfair judgments.
Classy people on the other hand do quite the opposite.
They hold back from quick decisions. They give everyone a fair chance.
They seek to find the common ground that binds us all, rather than instantly see what divides us.
This helps to create a sense of togetherness, tolerance, and acceptance that always makes a good impression.
12) Classy people generously share what they have without flaunting it
In some of the poorest countries on the planet, I have received the greatest hospitality.
Likewise, some of the people I’ve met who have the very least have been the quickest to share with me.
This is true class.
Classy people make a good impression by taking a generous approach in sharing what they have — whether it’s material things, or simply their time or skills.
But they never use what they have as a way of bragging or boasting. It’s not about flaunting what they have and others do not.
They share for the sake of cooperation and collaboration rather than to impress.
13) Classy people dress as a reflection of who they are
There’s a misconception that dressing in a “classy way” is all about designer labels or stylish gear.
But the most meaningful version of class has nothing to do with materialism. After all, you can have all the money in the world and very little class.
Because although clothing in itself doesn’t matter, there’s no denying it is a representation of us.
We choose it, and in doing so it becomes a statement.
Dressing tastefully, appropriately for the occasion, and in a way that makes us feel comfortable is more important than how much your outfit cost.