Make Your First Impression Count for Your Career and Relationship.
FIRST IMPRESSION MATTERS - DO IT RIGHT, EVERY TIME.
In any social setting, party, meeting, date, conference, job interview, or other social gathering, how would you like people to perceive you?
Would you like to make a great first impression on people?
Yes, you do. It is essential to make a great first impression because people are able to make powerful snap judgments in a tenth of a second.
In fact, these quick judgments are based on what is called rapid cognition, also referred to as thin slicing, a kind of unconscious thinking, as Malcolm Gladwell describes it in his book, Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking.
Through thin slicing, you quickly and subconsciously take a look at huge amounts of surface information and pick the most important one, leading to snap judgments.
Talking about the power of snap judgment, researchers Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal at Harvard University conducted a study. The researchers observed that we make a snap judgment within the first 2 seconds of meeting someone, but rarely change it—even after learning more.
Our judgments about someone's credibility, likeability, and trustworthiness are formed before we've even heard what they have to say.
Imagine a room full of unknown faces. As you stare at these faces in a room, your nerves begin to wrack, your heart races, your hands sweat, you gasp for fresh air, and you wonder how you're going to speak to them.
What is the best way to make a standout first impression that ignites likeability?
To have an impactful first impression, you need to understand a bit of our primitive mind survival mechanisms and how it impacts our first impression. When we meet someone for the first time, our mind unconsciously looks for clue to identify them:
· Is this person friend or foe? Safety check
· Is this person a winner or a loser? – Leader or Follower
· Are they on my side- Trust check.
Tips to be Liked at First Sight:
Hack your Micro Expression and Body Language:
As we now know that our body language speaks louder than our words. And when we meet people, our brain filters out important information that we need to decide whether or not to trust. We also send signals to others whether to consider us a friend or foe without our conscious awareness.
However, using the right nonverbal cues and body language in the first few seconds, you can make a lasting impression by nonverbally showing that "You can trust me. I'm here to help."
Do that using your hands, posture, and eye contact to create a powerful impact.
• Show your hand to build trust
• Pose a confident stance
• Use right amount of eye contact
Keep your hands visible:
You must be thinking; what does hands have to do with this? What difference does it make whether it is inside my pocket or lying side by side?
Well, it does make a lot of difference. Again, our primitive mind looks for threat gestures. “Is this person carrying an arrow to kill me?”
Obviously, someone carrying an arrow is not your usual threat every day.
However, your primitive mind is built to protect you from danger, even today. Seeing someone with their palms open reduces it unconscious fear.
Also, in the modern world, placing your hands to your sides without fiddling can show that you are not nervous or anxious.
Suggestion - When you walk into a room or are waiting to meet someone, keep your hands out of your pockets.
Go for a Handshake:
Shaking hands helps to build trust as it releases oxytocin, a chemical that facilitates connection and trust. It also reveals a lot about how you feel, whether you are confident, nervous, or friendly. However, be mindful of the culture you are interacting in before you offer a handshake.
Also, when going for a handshake, keep these things in mind to have a great handshake.
Dry: Keep your hands dry. How would you feel if you shook a sweaty hand?
Vertical: Always keep your hand vertical with your thumb toward the sky. Offering your palm up is a nonverbal, submissive or weak gesture.
Firm: A firm hand, not too tight, not to lose.
Get Into your Power Pose:
What impression do you have of a person with a bow head, slumped shoulder, and arm pinned tightly to their sides? Not a great one.
Instead, if you see someone with a ‘power pose’ you instantly believe them to be a leader than a follower. That’s why practice ‘power pose:
• Take descent physical space, without threating other person space
• Aim your chin, chest, and forehead straight in front of you or slightly up
• Shoulders down and back
• Keep space between your arms and torso.
• Tilt head up
• Hands visible
Suggestion: Stand like a winner. Look like a winner. Interact like a winner.
Have you noticed, how someone avoiding eye contact creates suspicion in your mind?
Your eyes speak volumes about you. They play a crucial role in building relationships and trustworthiness.
However, your gaze should not become constantly piercing. According to Leil Lowndes, 60/40 mix should be the ideal. In her book, How to Talk to Anyone, she suggests 60% eye contact indicates that you are paying attention without aggression.
Suggestion: Practice engaging in 60 to 70 percent eye contact during your interactions
Have a Clear Intent:
Give your mind a clear intention before you begin. Think about what you want to achieve, who you want to meet, and what you want them to think of you. This gives your brain a clear framework; it helps your mind know ahead of time what to know and say so that you don't end up as a stuttering nervous wreck. It gets to know, "This is what I have to do; this is what is expected of me. Let's get started!"
Send Positive Signal using Positive Thoughts:
Have you ever noticed that people start to avoid you when you are upset, sad, or sulking? It's because energy is contagious. We wish to be around people who make us feel good. A bad mood transmits repulsive energy.
This can be changed by changing your thinking patterns. If you fail to do so, try to avoid meeting people in a bad mood. Otherwise, think about your favorite experience. Soak yourself in it until you feel a positive energy surrounds you. What you feel is transmitted without words.
Dressing shouldn't be much of a problem, if you know what type of situation this is, like professional or informal, and know what suits that criteria. It doesn't look professional to wear shorts and T-shirts to a wedding or conference, and neither does it look right to wear a tuxedo at the beach. Having this sense of where and what can give you a positive aura of understanding.
Show genuine interest in people:
Does this person like me? Would this person respect my opinion? Will this person include me?
While it's true that most people like others that start out fun and interactive, people who seem shy or anxious could be like that. It's just that they have stressed nerves. Giving people like them a chance gives you a better and more wholesome interaction and a good first impression, since it shows your ability to open up and make others do the same by being nice.
Last but not the least. Don't forget to light up the environment with a delightful smile. Smiling can, again, make you look comfortable and interactive, and not anxious like there's something wrong. Just like laughing, smiling can be very contagious, and when people are happy, they tend to work with better efficiency because they're enjoying themselves while doing the activity.
The power of your first impression lies not in what you say, but in how you say it. Your first few seconds of meeting matters the most. You can’t banish social anxiety, even when your nerves are high by learning to hack the social setting and create the lasting, positive first impression in the mind of others. Who knows that it could open a gateway to your future relationships or professional success.
Do you also find new environment, new faces nerve wrecking? Which of these tips you are going to immediately implement to make better connections. Leave a comment to let us know. If you like the post or you want someone to learn these tips, like and share the post.
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