At Smart Social, we keep kids safe on social media so they can someday shine online. But we also want to teach students how to shine in person– because no one ever gets a second chance to make a great first impression. Perfecting things like posture, eye contact, handshakes, and proper English will set up a student for success—today and in the future.
Why students can benefit from good posture
Cellphones and social media can take a toll on your posture. Constantly bending over or leaning down on a table, isn’t only bad for your back it can also give someone a negative impression of you, according to certified etiquette expert Valarie Roberts of The Good Manners Club in Kentucky. She believes great posture can go a long way in making people feel good about themselves. “Good posture changes the hormones in the brain to actually make you feel more confident,” says Roberts.
Roberts recommends building the muscles in your back by constantly reminding yourself to put your chest out and your shoulders back and down. As a bonus, she says staying mindful of your posture can help you remember things.
Great eye contact is a learned skill
It can take some courage for young adults to make eye contact with adults but bad eye contact can make a student seem worried, scared, or insecure.
Roberts recommends never looking down while talking to someone. “That shows that maybe we’re uninterested. It shows that maybe we’re lacking the confidence to be in the conversation with someone,” she explains.
Instead, she teaches a simple trick called the Triangle Method.
“You focus on one eye for 5 to 10 seconds. The other eye for 5 to 10 seconds. Then you [look] right in between the eyes.”
Always use proper English to protect your credibility
We all have something to say, but saying it without proper grammar could leave the wrong lasting impression.
Roberts offers these tips to help improve your English speaking skills:
- Avoid double negatives
- Find alternatives to the word “ain’t”
- Always put yourself at the end of a sentence
“We all want to be listened to and it makes it difficult for the other person to listen to you if you’re not using proper English,” explains Roberts.
Handshakes can say a lot about a person
Handshakes can make a great greeting—or a bad first impression. Mastering a good, solid handshake is a skill Roberts believes students are never too young to learn.
“We don’t want to squeeze too hard and act like we’re trying to overpower the person, but we also don’t want to offer a weak handshake,” she says.
Roberts recommends people with small hands to always spread their fingers wide and put their pinky finger facing down. Also, always make sure to touch your web (the area between the thumb and pointer finger) to the other person’s web.
Regularly working to build inner confidence is a gift that will continue to pay off throughout life. Students will benefit from good posture, great eye contact, solid handshakes, and using proper English. What works today to help turn a classmate into a friend, could work tomorrow to land that dream internship or career.