Success comes from dealing with other people, wether that be teaming up on a business venture or selling to them. The most pivotal point when dealing with people is the first impression that you leave, it’s faster to form a first impression than it is to change it. In fact it’s much faster, it takes just 7 seconds for a person to form a first impression of you. This is an evolutionary survival tactic, automatically when a new person spots you their brain starts asking question. Should I approach them or avoid them? Do they have social status? Are they clever? Do they know what they are talking about?
Why you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression
Experts in social science have found that any attempt to change someones first impression of you will not fully work because their new experience with you becomes ‘bound’ to the context it was in and the first impression remains dominant. For example say you give a coworker a bad impression of you on your first day because you had greasy hair, you would notice it and attempt to change their impression of you. You may choose to dress up incredibly smartly and make sure you wash your hair for the office party, but this won’t work because your coworkers’ brain will think that this is an exception to the norm and their first impression will stick. First impressions remain because of evolution. It is much easier to give a good impression than it is to fight the hardwiring of a persons brain to change their opinion of you.
How to make a good first impression
1. Appear confident and willing to meet knew people. You should be the one to approach new people and do it without reservations, any doubts about your self will come across straight away. Look them in the eye and shake their hand. If they think you are an outgoing person they will find it easier to engage in conversation with you.
2. Hold yourself well. As you approach people make sure you have good posture, imagine you are hanging by a piece of string attached to your sternum. Keep you chin back but don’t put your nose in the air. You will find that walking with confidence will give you confidence and make people want to approach you.
3. Be on time. Being late will immediately inconvenience the person and leave them with a bad impression of you, being early is far better than being late. But being too early could again inconvenience the person. Turn up just a few minutes early to leave the person with a good impression of you.
4. Approach people with a clear intention. The last thing you want to do is stammer out your words because your not sure what to say. Know what you want to say and how your going to say it.
5. Be well presented. Dress appropriately for the situation and make sure you wear your best smile. If you smile and look good you will seem more approachable and you will leave a better impression.
6. Become highly interested in the other person. Chances are the other person wants to talk about themselves more than they want to listen to you. You’d be surprised how good an impression you can make without saying a word about yourself. Encourage the other person to speak and they’ll love talking to you and you’ll learn a lot.
Practice these techniques and watch your connections grow.
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