First impressions occur in the first seven seconds of meeting someone. Here's something even scarier — a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Willis & Todorov uncover it takes is a tenth of a second to construct an impression of a stranger from their face. Longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments).
Like it or not, judgments based on facial and overall appearance play a powerful role in how we treat others, and how we get treated.
The moment a person observes you, their brain makes a thousands of calculations — are you someone to like or to dislike? Can you be trusted or feared? Are you important or are you a lackey?
Each calculation is made at lightning speed — making major decisions about one another in the first seven seconds of meeting.
Let's break it down to each individual item:
Body Language/Body Image:
- What is your posture like when you walk? Are you hunched over? Are you straight and proud?
- Do you walk like Jason Bourne — A bit faster and with purpose?
- Are you shoulders square and are you looking straight ahead?
Facial Expression/Eye Contact:
- Are you smiling? Not a fake smarmy smile — a REALLY big smile?
- Do you 'brighten' your eyebrows when meeting someone?
- Are you looking them right in the eye?
Voice & Tonality:
- Do you introduce yourself energetically? "Hi, I'm Rich Gee. What's your name?"
- Do you say it with pride and enthusiasm or low and weak?
- Do you punch key words and emphasize your phrasing?
- Do you follow up with additional questions, "Tell me more!"
- Do you take a SINCERE interest in what they have to say?
Dress & Appearance:
- Are you wearing a sharp & clean uniform (suit, skirt, slacks, shirt, tie, jacket, etc.)?
- Does it suit your size? Age?
- How are your shoes?
- Are you wearing too much makeup? Cologne? Perfume? Jewelry? Accessories?
- Are you actually taking their hand and shaking it? Or just letting it lie there?
- Is it a firm (not killer) handshake? Is it a dead handshake?
- If you know them well — are you grasping with two hands? Giving them a hug?
Your first impression is so important. Practice, Prepare, and Present! They're going to LOVE you!