I find the whole science of first impressions so fascinating. When a person meets you for the first time their brain makes several snap decisions about you in just 7 seconds. Actually it takes only a tenth of a second to decide if the person is trustworthy but as long as 30 seconds to make judgements of a persons attractiveness and intelligence.
However a myriad of other decisions are made within 7 seconds, such as judgements about your age, competence, education level, lifestyle, income, social class, to mention a few.
Latest studies have shown that we can work our way out of a bad first impression but, as it is with so many other things, it takes a lot more energy and time than just to make it right the first time.
I made this collection of tips that will help you take your personal brand on a next level that exudes confidence and professionalism.
Make a great first impression
- Get to know people in advance through social media. They will be doing the same so make sure that you too are making a good first impression throughout your social media. Read more about digital presence here.
- Smile. People who smile appear more likeable and trustworthy than their poker-faced counterparts. Don’t over-do it though. No grinning and no awkward or deranged smiles.
- Maintain good personal hygiene. I can’t stress enough the importance of this! There is simply no excuse to neglect your personal hygiene in any possible situation.
- Dress for the part. Read more about your appearance here.
- Offer a firm handshake. Make it last about 3-4 seconds because you want to engage with people without appearing creepy. At this point you have already made a first impression and people have not even heard you speak yet!
- Avoid using fillers such as um, ah and like. They show immaturity and hesitation.
- Make it all about the other person. Ask questions and let people tell about themselves.
- Polish your listening skills. Read more about brushing your communication skills here.
- Maintain normal eye contact throughout the conversation but under no circumstances stare at people. Loosing eye contact mid-conversation implies that the other person is making you bored or you have something more important in your mind.
- Avoid at all cost sizing up people from head to toe, peeking at cleavages, or letting your mind wander while looking at someone. It’s creepy, rude and it paves way for you to become the next #metoo headline.
- Allow people to have their personal space. In general people feel uncomfortable when someone in breathing down their neck or being too close. See also 10.
- Be mindful about your body language. Keep a good posture and resist the urge to cross your arms or legs. Keep your hands visible, unless you want people to think that you have something to hide.
- Be aware of your nervous tics such as drumming, scratching yourself, clicking your knuckles, playing with your hair etc. They make you appear awkward and uncomfortable, which may make other people feel uncomfortable too.
- Learn to control your facial expressions. Avoid squinting your eyes, wrinkling your nose and keep your mouth closed when you are not talking.
- Use confident, friendly and positive language. Have an upbeat attitude. Let your energy and zest for life be contagious!
Let me know how I can help you make a great first impression. I would love to hear from you!
I am looking forward to working with you!
Your image consultant with an eye for detail