How to make a good first impression


How to make a good first impression

 
We all have heard of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but our brains tend to do precisely that when it comes to first impressions. And they do it incredibly fast. Research shows we can form a first impression of others within 7 seconds of meeting them. That means we decide whether the other person is likeable and trustworthy, possibly even before they can say ‘hello.’
 To make a good first impression, we must consider all three channels of communication:
 
Visual – our body language and facial expressions
Verbal – what we say
Vocal – how we say it
Our tips for making a good first impression include:
 
  1. Duchenne smile. This is the one that reaches your eyes, making the corners wrinkle up with crow’s feet. It’s the smile most of us recognise as the most authentic expression of happiness.
  2. Keep your hands out of your pockets and in plain sight. This may sound strange, but research indicates the simple sight of your hands can make you seem more trustworthy and likeable. And let’s not forget a good, firm handshake!
  3. Mirroring. Because we tend to like people who are similar to us. When you meet someone new, adjust your voice and gestures to theirs – be careful not to overdo it!
  4. Eye contact. Just the right amount of eye contact is a powerful tool for making a good first impression. We tend to worry about how much eye contact is appropriate, but it’s unlikely you’ll overdo it. As a guideline, it’s good to aim for steady eye contact, especially at the beginning of the interaction and 60 to 70% of the time afterwards.
  5. Dress to impress. Aim to dress slightly better than what the occasion calls for.
  6. Authenticity. Be confident in yourself, and don’t try to be someone you’re not.
  7. Do your research and come prepared. Because when you’re prepared, you feel more at ease and appear much more interested.
First impressions are important, and as the saying goes – you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. But that’s no reason to worry about it. Knowing what’s involved in making a good first impression, and getting plenty of practice, is guaranteed to help you get there.