How To Create An Unforgettable First Impression
If anyone ever tells you that first impressions don’t count, don’t believe them. In fact, studies show that if someone feels negatively about you on first meeting you, it’s incredibly hard to change their initial perception. And from job interviews, to new friends, to finding love, it’s making those positive connections that has the power to really change your life. Think of your initial meeting as laying the foundation for a future, deeper relationship – you need those foundations to be solid in order to build something great. You have, on average, just seven seconds in which to make your mark – so how do you ensure that the impression you’re creating is a positive one?
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We go through life half-distracted by the constant tug of our smartphones or even our own thoughts, but when meeting someone for the first time, it pays to make sure that you focus on them. One of the most compelling behaviours for this is eye contact – if we don’t make any because we’re distracted, or too shy, it’s very hard to create a positive impression. Human brains are wired to respond to the chemicals generated when we lock pupils – serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’, oxytocin which gives a sense of wellbeing and bonding, and feel-good chemicals dopamine and endorphins are all triggered by this simple, evolutionary response. So it really is crucial to sincerely meet someone’s eyes when you are first introduced. However, there’s definitely a balance to be struck. Make too much eye contact, or come across like you’re staring and the gesture will backfire – you’ll come across as either aggressive or creepy! A few seconds of eye contact followed by a natural gaze around at your surroundings is best. If you’re meeting several people, say your partners’ friends or a panel at a job interview, make sure that you share eye contact with everyone, interspersed with looking at the room around you.
Pay Attention To Details
Being well-presented is almost certainly a good way to win people over – there are a lot of snap judgements that get inferred from how you choose to present yourself. Rightly or wrongly, the speed and volume of information that is processed by the human brain when encountering someone new has evolved into a series of informational shortcuts, or judgements, that will form an unconscious bias about you based on stored information. And while it may be very true to say ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’, unfortunately, that is exactly what we as human beings are wired to do. Make sure you cover off the details in any important situation – that your clothes are pressed and free of stains, your teeth are nice and white, your hair is neat and you appear presentable. If you want to be memorable you could try a trick such as developing an outfit signature, like a colourful silk scarf, or even finding a signature scent such as a delicate rose perfume. People will begin to associate you with these attributes, and they can make you stand out in a good way.
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