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1/10 of a Second to a First Impression?

What?? That’s the first thing I thought when I recently searched to find the most recent studies around how long it takes the majority of us to form a first impression – positive or otherwise.

1/10th of a second to form a first impression; is that even possible? I know when I last checked, only a few years ago, we had a whopping 6 seconds – which now sounds like an eternity compared to my newest revelation!

So what in the world can we do to dramatically help shape the impression others may form of us when we’re in personal and/or professional situations? After all, the last thing you or I want is to be seen as something we’re not when we’re trying to gain acceptance of our ideas, services, or bid for friendship or romance.

With that in mind, here are 3 top tips to forming a positive first impression: 

slimy salesTip 1: Eye to Eye. I know it may be something you’ve heard before, and there’s a reason for that. Whether you’re meeting someone for the first time, or in a conversation with an established friend or family member . . . be sure to take a moment to stop what you’re doing, look them directly in the eye, and give your full attention. If you don’t make eye contact when you’re speaking, it can increase the odds that others will distrust what you’re saying. In other words,  no eye contact = no connection.

Tip 2: A smile can go a mile. A warm, genuine smile can do wonders when it comes to making a positive first impression. However, if you choose to share one of those tight lipped, half smiles that conveys anything but a genuine “Happy to meet you” message, you can do more harm than good. Make sure you show a little teeth and let your smile reach your eyes. Not sure what I mean? Take a look in the mirror and practice by thinking of something you love while smiling. Is your smile inviting? Now practice smiling while thinking of your old high school rival or your last trip to the DMV . . . see a difference? Keep in mind-if you can see a difference, so can everyone else.

Tip 3: Is it a match?  Few things can convey a sense of disinterest quicker that leaning back in your chair (especially if you’ve broken eye contact) and slumping down in your seat. I once had a VP introduce me to his team as the person who would be working with them to provide tools to form better relationships with their customers. While his words told the group about how excited he was, his body language (he leaned back in his chair, tipping it backwards while he glanced periodically at his phone) conveyed a very different message.  Your words, tone of voice, facial expression, body language, and gestures must all convey the same message at the same time. If you’re rolling your eyes, crossing your arms, paying more attention to your phone than the person you’re in front of, or in any way contradicting the words you’re saying, you are likely to leave anything but a positive first impression.

By putting these tips into practice, you can help shape the impression others may have of you and decrease your risk of leaving your reputation to chance. Actualize your success.

 

 ©2015 Lisa Broesch-Weeks • All rights reserved internationally • Permission to redistribute with attribution