First impressions mean everything. They may only take place in a matter of seconds, but tend to last a matter of years.
Whether you are meeting a prospective new employer for the first time, or approaching a beautiful woman in a bar, your success depends on whether they like you from that first meeting. If they are positively affected by your presence, they will be eager to see you again. This impressive phenomenon is known as “thin slicing”. Somebody will judge you on appearance, verbal language and positioning and will immediately categorise you as someone they like or dislike.
But not everyone finds it easy to charm new people. Nerves can take over for some, while others simply find it difficult to find the right things to say. Luckily for you, we’ve listed proven ways to overcome these hurdles. Prepare to dazzle every stranger, every time!
Here are our top 3 tips to win anybody over in a matter of seconds.
Non-verbal communication plays a huge role in first impressions; and smiling in particular is the key to success. A strong smile with first impressions, positions you approachable, likeable and confident.
Psychology Today rates a person’s smile as the first feature to elicit a positive reaction from strangers. You have probably noticed it yourself; when somebody flashes you a genuine smile, you can’t help but grin back. It’s an almost automatic response that immediately makes you feel good. And so you associate that feeling with the person who smiled at you. And if it was a stranger, you may be thinking of them for a while afterwards.
And, of course, the aim of any first impression is to create a positive association that lasts. If you are approaching a beautiful woman in a bar, and you catch her eye, she will be happier to speak to you if you seem to be in a good mood. If you are shuffling your feet and looking grumpy, she won’t want you bringing her mood down with you.
But be careful with your smile. Don’t force it – a stiff smile shows insecurity, and remember to make eye contact, so she knows it is her you are smiling at, and that you are a genuine person with nothing to hide. But don’t stare – that will scare her off!
And the same goes for interview situations and other day-to-day interactions. A smile leaves a positive memory that will last forever. And besides, there is no better way to show-off your beard-growing talents.
Even if you could charm the socks off a snake, your gift of the gab won’t make a difference if you look a mess. Before you have the chance to open your mouth, the impression has already been made; your potential employer, or potential future wife, has already decided whether they want to waste their time talking to you. Even in less nerve-wracking situations, the way you look can affect your life.
An article written in The Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management explores the correlation between smart attire and first impressions. They deduced that expensive/brand labelled clothing gave an impression of success and confidence, while well-tailored suits allowed onlookers to view the wearer more positively. Ever heard the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” Well that is never more true than in an interview situation.
But what about your beard? Do you ever wonder how that affects your future prospects? We think that a well-cared for, neat beard is something to be admired, but a scruffy, unkempt, wiry ball of fluff filled with bits of food is something that will always be viewed negatively. So dress smartly but appropriately, and tidy up your beard!
A study conducted in 2011 between Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital agreed with the above point, but also suggested that how you hold yourself speaks volumes. Whatever the situation, be sure to sit or stand up tall, with your feet planted comfortably on the floor, your head turned towards the new person, and your shoulders back. This posture gives the impression of confidence (even if you are shaking like jelly inside) and will show your companion that you are capable and interested. Conversely, a slumped posture, with shuffling feet and fidgeting hands shows disinterest and makes you look lazy. And if your head is turned away, this can come across as rude. No employer will want to hire someone who doesn’t really want the job, and you will have trouble charming the women, or potential networking prospects if you looked bored.
And if you keep your head up and focused, the new person will get to appreciate your beard in its full glory. But don’t fiddle with it – it makes you look anxious!
As you can see, first impressions can be formed before you have even uttered a word, and as these are the memories most people keep in their mind, these are the ones that matter the most.