People buy people. Whatever you do, people will buy your product or service and do business with you because they like you, trust you and know you are going to do what is right for them.
Did you know that people make an assumption about you within seven seconds of meeting you; that’s a very short time to decide whether they are going to like you or not. Apparently, it then takes 23 subsequent meetings to change a person’s mind about you.
The majority of first impressions are based on non-verbal communications according to a study done by ULCA:
- 55% of people base their first impression on body language and personal appearance: the visual,
- 38% of people base their first impression on what you say: the vocal, and
- 7% of people base their first impression on the words you use: the vocabulary.
You need to make a positive impact and in order to do so that first impression is crucial. If, when you go shopping, the display window is the first thing you see and it gives a good impression then you will likely go in, but, if you don’t like what you see you will most likely walk past and never even bother entering the store.
Your clothing says a lot about whom you are and what you stand for: so dress to impress. When heading out to a networking event, make sure you know what the dress code is so you are not over or under-dressed. I remember last year’s CIM award dinner; there was a very unusual dress code, which was called “lounge” dress code. It really confused everyone; a few men were actually wearing black tie when everyone else was wearing casual clothing. These men stood out, did not look very comfortable at all and actually appeared a little awkward.
Your body language is a reflection of how you are feeling. The way you stand, for example, is a very easy way to show if you are confident or not. If you are confident you will stand like this:
if you are not you may look like this:
Watch this excellent TedX talk from Amy Cuddy about the power of body language and here you will learn some powerful stances, not just for first impressions, but this will also help you in a range of situations.
It’s all in the eyes: do you know that smiling stimulates our brains’ reward mechanism, the limbic system, in a way that even chocolate cannot match?
Whenever we smile there are two potential muscles we activate. The first is one the “zygomaticus major”, which controls the corners of your mouth. Scientifically, when this muscle is the only one to activated, it’s not technically a genuine smile. Scientists call this: the social smile.
The second muscle, known to show sincerity, is the “orbicularis occuli” and it encircles our eye socket. So, to genuinely smile at someone, both of those muscles need to be activated, this is called the true smile or “The Duchenne” just like this…
Now let’s take the handshake; a couple of months ago at The Busy Queen Bee Speed Buzzing events, one of the attendees introduced himself and shook everyone’s hands with his business card hidden in his palm. It was such an unusual start to a conversation, that people actually remembered him from this simple, but also effective introduction. Admittedly, they forgot his name, but they remembered him from his trick. Being of French origin, it is in our culture to kiss everybody, so I am not afraid to kiss the people I know, however when you don’t know people make that handshake a strong and confident one. No one wants a wet, shaky hand to be his or her first physical contact with a person. You need to assert the already great first impression you have worked so hard to make.
Finally, ensure you create a positive impact; dress to impress, learn powerful stances, shake hands with confidence and make your first seven seconds impression counts.