20 Ways To Leave A Lasting, Positive Impression On People

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People may not remember specific things you said to them, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.

As such, if you aim to make long-lasting, positive impressions on people, the key is to uplift them in ways they’ll remember forever.

Here are 20 suggestions to help you do just that:

1. Demonstrate genuine interest by actively listening.

You undoubtedly remember times when people gave you their complete, undivided attention, and then offered great feedback about what you were discussing with them.

As such, aim to embody these same traits that you appreciate in others.

Instead of eagerly waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can have your turn, listen carefully to what they’re telling you.

Listen with all your senses, ask them questions about their ideas, and share yours in turn.

Do this, and they’ll remember this exchange to the end of their days.

2. Display empathy and understanding.

To empathize with a person means trying to understand what they’re going through as if you were experiencing it firsthand.

Even if you’ve never lost a parent or suffered a terrible illness, you can likely imagine what it would feel like to go through that kind of thing.

It can be harder to empathize with something you can’t imagine though, like an intense phobia that you find irrational or a mental health condition you’ve never experienced.

But if you can take the time to listen, believe, and validate someone else’s experience, even if you don’t ‘get’ it yourself, it will go a long way to helping someone feel seen and understood.

It’s a feeling that shouldn’t be underestimated, and it’ll stay with them long after you’ve left.

3. Maintain a positive and approachable demeanor.

Are you familiar with the expression: “A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet”?

Tell yourself this when you meet someone for the first time, especially if you’re prone to experiencing awkwardness as many of us are.

You may not know how to interact with one another or may feel obligated to talk about yourselves to create familiarity.

But instead, treat them as old friends whom you haven’t seen for ages but are delighted to reconnect with. You’ll feel an instant sense of comfort and ease—and they’ll feel and remember it too.

4. Show sincere appreciation and gratitude for people’s contributions.

Nobody likes to be taken for granted, but it happens far more often than people realize.

That’s why it’s so important to let others know that their efforts aren’t just seen—they’re appreciated.

Lavishing someone with effusive praise is going to come across as inauthentic. But a few words or small gestures of appreciation will show them that their actions matter.

This can be as simple as writing a note to a colleague acknowledging that you recognize their contributions, or surprising your partner with a snack or coffee when they’re immersed in work.

Some of the seemingly smallest acts mean the most to others and will leave a long and meaningful impression as a result.

5. Offer support and encouragement.

Sometimes, a single word or phrase can make the difference between someone deciding to follow their dreams or giving up on them entirely.

When someone opens up and tells you what their goal is, show encouragement and support even if it isn’t your bag.

You don’t need to have a personal interest in what they’re doing to congratulate them for pursuing it.

Better yet, if you have connections that may help them move forward, try to connect them.

Even if the pursuit doesn’t pan out, everyone involved will remember you as a helper and web-weaver, rather than a doomsdayer and naysayer.

6. Display confidence and assertiveness (while respecting other perspectives).

Many people are spineless, sycophantic ‘yes men’, agreeing with things solely for the sake of avoiding conflict.

They won’t defend their convictions if it means alienating or disappointing others.

A better approach is to state your stance in an assertive-yet-friendly manner, acknowledging that not only is it possible to ‘agree to disagree’, but that differing perspectives make life a lot more interesting.

You can ask your conversation partner to tell you more about what they think or believe to help you better understand their stance, even though you’ll never see eye to eye on it.

They’ll be pleasantly surprised to meet someone with both conviction and curiosity and they won’t forget you any time soon.

7. Present yourself with authenticity and honesty.

The truth will always make itself known, and if you lie about some aspect of yourself or pad your accomplishments with half-truths, reality will eventually rear its head and out you.

Then you’ll be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

That’s why it’s so important to be honest about yourself, even if it means admitting to things you aren’t proud of.

People are quick to trust someone who’s honest about their shortcomings and will cut ties with one who falsifies or exaggerates their accolades.

8. Demonstrate reliability and consistency in actions and commitments.

A person’s word only has value if they keep it.

As such, if you want to be known as a person of their word, you must keep your promises and obligations as often as possible.

Unexpected circumstances may prevent you from keeping them on occasion, but unless you’re dealing with a crippling blow or devastating illness, aim to keep your word by any means necessary.

This will prove to others that you’re not only a reliable person, but an honorable one.

And that’s the sort of thing people remember.

9. Express kindness and thoughtfulness.

How much did it mean to you when a person took the time to show you kindness?

Remember what that felt like?

Every single day, we have 1,440 opportunities to do something kind of thoughtful for another. Small actions can do far more good than most people realize.

Give a small shopping gift card to your local barista for always remembering your coffee order, or contact a company’s HR department to express appreciation for the customer service rep who was awesome with you.

It’ll make a huge difference to their day (and your mood), and they’ll remember it for years to come.

10. Showcase humility and openness to feedback.

Few of us respect those who claim to know everything and never admit to their mistakes.

In contrast, we appreciate it when someone owns up to not knowing about a topic or asks for feedback on how they can improve.

We’re all ongoing projects that are perpetually improving and evolving, and having blind spots in our education or behavior is inevitable.

By being open to feedback, and willing to apologize (and make amends), we show great humility and honor in other people’s eyes.

11. Display professionalism and respect in all interactions.

Great indeed is a person who can maintain dignity and respect amid chaos as gracefully as they can on a mild, sunny day.

Chances are, you have a lot more respect for a person who keeps calm and professional when someone is screaming at them than the one who’s shrieking like a howler monkey.

Of course, the howler monkey will still leave a lasting impression, but you can bet it won’t be a good one.

12. Communicate effectively and articulately.

People who can articulate their thoughts and express them in ways that everyone can understand are deeply valued.

This may involve adjusting your tone or vocabulary to suit your audience, but as a general rule, speaking slowly and clearly, without vulgarity or slang terms, will earn you high esteem in most people’s eyes.

Remember, not everyone communicates in the same way, so don’t force or expect eye contact where it’s uncomfortable for people or use jargon and ambiguous expressions when you’re with people who communicate literally.

Showing this understanding and compassion with your communication partner could be the difference between leaving an impression that will be treasured forever, rather than one they wish they could forget.

13. Be adaptable and flexible to your setting.

Life rarely unfolds the way we expect it to, and the ability to remain flexible in the face of changing circumstances can earn a person long-lasting admiration and respect.

If you can, be open to spontaneous plan changes, whether that involves a shift in venue or a cancellation.

If things at work aren’t panning out as expected, rather than plodding on in a futile effort, use a different technique instead.

If you know that a change in routine is something you find difficult, let people know so they can cut you some slack, and have some regulation strategies close to hand to help you cope with and manage unexpected change.

Your ability to keep cool and self-regulate when things go wrong will rub off on others and you’ll be remembered positively for it.  

14. Show passion for shared interests and common goals.

A lot of people keep their joys and pursuits to themselves for fear of being mocked or derided for them.

So when they connect with someone who enjoys the same things they do, it’s like a doorway of understanding and connection that opens between them.

This is especially true if what you’re into is somehow ‘nerdy’, or if you two share a common goal that others aren’t particularly interested in.

Few things can reassert the love of a topic like connecting with someone else who’s also passionately interested in it.

When you find your tribe in this way, you never forget them.

15. Show your sense of humor.

People who can maintain their sense of humor in even the most dire circumstances are usually the most memorable.

Some of the greatest stories in history are about those who kept others’ spirits up when things were really bad.

Even if your humor is a bit dark or off the wall at times, if it can alleviate someone else’s fear or suffering and motivate them to get through hardship, it’ll be remembered positively.

16. Display integrity and ethical behavior.

A sincerely inspiring person does the right thing even when nobody is watching them.

This can manifest in different ways, but will always cause onlookers to acknowledge real human decency.

Furthermore, it’ll encourage them to follow suit when the opportunity arises.

This may be as simple as watching someone else’s belongings at a cafe while they get a refill so nothing gets stolen, or stopping to help an injured pedestrian when nobody else does.

Your behavior is likely to inspire others to take action and will leave a lasting impression on everyone involved.

17. Demonstrate patience and understanding in challenging situations.

Everyone will encounter difficult circumstances at some point, and having someone who shows them patience and understanding can change the course of their future.

This is true for both the big challenges and the ‘smaller’ ones, and the ones that perhaps you don’t quite understand or relate to yourself.

Most people don’t plan for bad things to upend their lives. But whether you ‘get’ their experience or not, showing them understanding and patience could be just what they need to help turn things around.

And trust me, that’s something they’ll never forget.

18. Express positivity to uplift and motivate those around you.

This depends a lot on the circumstances.

When people are amid great suffering they aren’t going to appreciate mindless platitudes about seeing the silver lining.

What they will appreciate, however, is a leader who can give them hope and motivate them into action.

If you find yourself amidst a crisis, your actions will speak more loudly than words ever could.

Offer a hand to lift someone up, recruit people to make food to share, and get others to put their skills to optimal use.

Purpose cuts through despair, so be sure to remind others of theirs whenever possible.

19. Inspire others with your creativity.

Almost everyone on the planet has been inspired by something creative at some point.

Embody your creativity in the way that suits you best, and others will undoubtedly remember you with a smile.

Maybe your dazzling fashion sense will inspire someone else to dress more authentically.

Or perhaps the music you play in public will brighten someone’s day or inspire them to take up an instrument themselves.

20. Ask others how you can be supportive of them.

We often default to our preferences when it comes to offering support, but what comforts and supports you may be enough to push someone else past their breaking point.

This is why it’s so important to ask people how you can support them instead of assuming that you know what’s best for them.

Their answer may be the complete opposite of what you expected, but that allows you to show up for them on their terms.

By taking the time to find out what the other person wants and needs, and then giving it to them, you show them respect and true compassion.

And those are two things that stay with people long after your interaction has passed.


While these approaches will work on most people, note that some people are going to think poorly of you no matter what you do.

In situations like this, there’s very little (if anything) you can do or say that’ll leave any positive impact on them.

Fortunately, these people are few and far between though.

The best you can do is to be as authentic, respectful, and as courteous as possible in your interactions with others.

How you treat others is your karma—how they respond to you, is their own.

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About The Author

Finn Robinson has spent the past few decades travelling the globe and honing his skills in bodywork, holistic health, and environmental stewardship. In his role as a personal trainer and fitness coach, he’s acted as an informal counselor to clients and friends alike, drawing upon his own life experience as well as his studies in both Eastern and Western philosophies. For him, every day is an opportunity to be of service to others in the hope of sowing seeds for a better world.