How to make a Great First Impression

Did you know that it takes just around four seconds for someone to evaluate your character? In this short time, the other person usually forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language and your mannerisms. Most of us want to be liked and respected. So, who would want to blow their chance to make a good first impression right?

Research shows that people tend to be judgemental about others’ character based on the external appearance. Instead of ranting about this, why can’t we turn the tables and change the situation to our advantage?

In this article, I shall be explaining the science behind first impressions and how to make a good first impression. Trust me; this is going to change your game while meeting someone.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND FIRST IMPRESSION

According to a research done by Daniel Kahneman, a Noble prize-winning author and a psychologist, the answer to this lies in Heuristics – The mental shortcuts that help us make decisions. The phenomenon where we come to a decision just based on an external appearance is called THIN-SLICING. To understand this, take a look at the following two images:

first-impression

Who do you think is more likable and approachable?

You already formed a decision bias! You felt that the person on the right is more approachable than the person on the left. This is called THIN-SLICING. You don’t know anything about the right guy, yet you found a slight liking towards the person. This is how human brain forms first impressions. Now, it’s time to take this principle to our advantage!

Here are six things that can help you make a better first impression while accelerating the process in which a person can get to know you:

1] Pay attention to your body language:

body-language

When it comes to making a good first impression, non-verbals speak louder than your words. A key skill that one can master is the use of non-verbal signals. When we meet another person, we subconsciously read their body language. Body language makes up between 60 to 75 percent of communication, so make sure you don’t do basic mistakes!

Standing firmly, making eye contact, firm handshake helps you to project a confident persona. You can also nod and use gestures to demonstrate your understanding and engagement with the conversation. Straight back posture is the best looking and the most professional pose. Don’t cross your arms, it gives a signal that you’re defensive. Try to behave calm and keep your body open.

2] Find connection:

connection

According to the Similarity Attraction Hypothesis, we’re more inclined to like people we have something in common with. Whenever you meet new people, this is the first thing you’ll have to do. Find similar interests with the other person and connect with them on this basic level. People will be impressed to speak to a person who is similar to them.

3] Mirroring:

Mirroring

Adjusting your posture, voice, words and gestures to match those of a new acquaintance is critical, because we are attracted to those who are just like us. To give a good first impression, start mirroring your body language of your new friend. This is one of the most popular psychological acts which were initially used by con artists.

4] Be positive:

positive

Who doesn’t like an optimistic and an enthusiastic person? Being positive cheers up the mood while communicating. Saying nice things about others will make the person associate you with being superior. Using flattery (sparingly) can also help leave a good impression.

5] Dress appropriately:

dress-well

Your appearance is your expression to others about who you are and what you stand for. Your appearance reflects your confidence, attitude and state of mind. So, always dress how you want to be addressed. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy expensive clothes. Just wear something suitable for the situation.

6] Be a good listener:

listen

“The art of conversation lies in listening”. Most people love to talk about themselves. However, talking too much about yourself is not a good thing when making a first impression. You can ask some questions related to the conversation to convey your interest in the other person. Don’t overdo this, it’s not an interview! [Click here to learn 4 habits that can make you a good active listener]

FINAL THOUGHTS

Our brains may have been subconsciously wired to form judgements about others based on the looks and behavior. Instead of falling for this, why can’t we take this to our advantage and impress others? The above methods can be implemented within minutes and can be easily followed.

Understanding the unconscious workings of the brain can help to ensure you to have a healthy start to any relationship.

If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.      – Bill Gates