First Impressions Are the Most Important

first impressions

When you meet someone new for the first time, you only have a few minutes if not a few seconds to grab their attention and make a good impression. Oftentimes this is done with charm or a decent introduction however sometimes people ask you right away what it is you do. The best way to answer this question is to have a one-liner that explains what you do and how you could be valuable to the individual you are talking to. But before I got into creating that “one-liner” here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t come off as an arrogant prick, even if you are one.
  • Let the other individual talk a bit before you start bring up the one-liner. This way you can tailor everything around them.
  • Be honest and don’t just tell people what they want to hear, even if you think lying will brand you as a rock star.
  • Keep a consistent message no matter who you are talking to. You can tell people different one-liners, but if you are a marketer at the end of the day your one-liner should be related to marketing.

So now that you have all those things in mind you can now create a tailored one liner that will brand yourself depending on the situations you are in. For example here are some one-liners I have used:

Situation: I was at a web 2.0 conference where individuals, who were part of startups, came up to me asking me what I do.
One-Liner: I am online marketer that has helped startups like XYZ increase their traffic.

Situation: Meet a few VCs at a local meetup who asked me what I do.
One-Liner: I am an online marketer who has helped VCs such as XYZ increase the network worth of their portfolio companies.

The overall purpose of using one-liners is so that you people can get a better understanding of what you are an expert in as well as how you can provide value to them right away. If anything, this gets the conversation going along a relevant path.

One-liners are also great for branding because they help people remember you (if done right). So, stop wasting time and come up with some that will help further your personal brand.

P.S. If you want more tips on making a better first impression go here.


  1. Hamlet Batista :


    Great tip. I think a good place for your one-liner is your email and forum signature.

    I’ve been trying to come up with a good one-liner. My niche is advanced SEO, what do you think of this one?

    “What everybody knows is not a competitive advantage…ready to learn some new SEO tips?”

    • Great idea about placing the one-liner in your email signature. The only concern is you can’t really tailor it to each person you email… for that reason I use a generic signature.

      As for your one-liner I like it and think it works well for you as long as you also link it to your blog (the place where they can get the tips).

  2. I am just starting on the road to serious blogging and freelance work…I found you while reading Copyblogger, by the way.

    I am making my list of things to accomplish and I like the one-liner suggestion. It simplifies things, and can probably fit on a business card.

    Rock On!

    • Placing it on a business card works well if you are a one man company. If you own a large company you might want to consider using your company tagline, motto, slogan… on your card so that your company’s image stays consistent. Such as with my company we use “Our Business Is Growing Your Business” on all of our business cards.

  3. Tanner Christensen :

    Great advice Neil, just wanted to say thanks for sharing.

  4. Better Blogging with Michael Martine :

    Neil, I really dig that idea of the “one liner!” That’s even more succinct than a “USP” or “UVP.” I already have one, (I help people become better bloggers by focusing on seven keys) but I’m glad to have a name to put to it.

  5. I believe one-liner is a very good idea, but what about a uniqueness? Does uniqueness counts in a one-liner? Especially when we have a very crowded niche like for example: Web Designer.

    Been trying to come up with an impressive 3 minute first impression 😀

    • Uniqueness does come into play. If you just have a standard one-liner then no one will remember you.

  6. Dan Schawbel :

    What about tailoring your 1-liner to your audience. So if you do have experience servicing multiple tier individuals, such as executives or associates, you can better match what you do with what they are interested in.

    Just a thought.

    • Dan, that is exactly what needs to be done. Tailoring it to your audience is going to be much more effective than just using a generic one-liner.

      • Dorothea Stuart :

        I agree that a one-liner describing what you do for clients/customers is a “must have” for networking. Tailoring is fine so long as you stay with your core message. I notice that sometimes people are fearful of encapsulating what they do in one line. I think they are trying to keep their options open as part of the “I can do anything for anybody in my field of business” marketing approach. I understand the nervousness about losing potential work. However, you’ll be more memorable if you can say I do this for people/companies like you or specific people/companies you know. Don’t be bland, be focused!

        • Good point about mentioning people or companies. It works really well if one of those people or companies is their competition.

  7. Brent Csutoras :

    I think it is also important to engage someone.

    Show you are confident, qualified, and engaged when you deliver your one liner.

    Your one liner should be a matter of fact and not something you have to convince them of.

    If i tell you the sky is blue…. it is because it is blue damn it. Take it or leave it.

  8. How to win friends and influence people, by Neil Patel. Your first point had me in absolute stitches, you sure do have a way with words, mister!

  9. Sport Supplement :

    right, 1st impression counts a lot just like you fall in love with a girl at 1st impression.

  10. free PR site :

    I like the idea of having a one-liner and placing it in your e-mail signature. It is generally good to have one to shortly let people know about what you do. As for the first impression I’ve learnt how much it means and how much one can loose when they don’t know how to act. Great tips!

  11. Halloween Costumes :

    Yes. I agree with you. First impressions are also important however, you also need to look inside/

  12. sell textbooks :

    First impressions are very important. You also want to try and never burn bridges, especially in the internet biz. Like they say, one minute your in and the next your out! It all can happen so quickly.

  13. I believe in the words” Make your first impression, a lasting one”. Even research proves that we tend to judge people on first impression.

  14. First impression must be positive because you never change your first impression. So always have Good plan whenever you going to meet someone first time.

  15. Show you are confident, qualified, and engaged when you deliver your one liner.

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