DoorMats make a bad impression when their insecurity shows, which is often all the time! It was obvious that I had no confidence when I lived in DoorMatville. Yet first impressions can opens doors fast or close them right up. There are things you can consciously do to improve the initial impact you make on someone.
I’m delighted to have Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. as my guest today. She’s an executive coach, author and keynote speaker who addresses association, government, and business audiences around the world. Her latest book and program topic is The Nonverbal Advantage – Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work. Below are her suggestions for altering your behavior to take control of how people judge you in the first 7 seconds. She’s an expert in this, so pay attention! ?
THE SEVEN SECOND ADVANTAGE
by Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.
You’re at a business conference or a neighborhood party and you turn to the stranger standing next to you. She turns to face you and in seven seconds you’ve already decided whether you like her and whether she is competent, confident, and trustworthy. Sure, your opinion may change once you get to know the person better, but that first impression will always linger.
And as you’re consciously and unconsciously evaluating her, she’s also making the same kind of instantaneous judgments about you.
While you can’t stop people from making snap decisions – the human brain is hardwired in this way as a prehistoric survival mechanism – you can understand how to make those decisions work in your favor. Here are seven powerful ways to make a positive first impression:
1. Adjust your attitude. People pick up your attitude instantly. Before you turn to greet someone, or enter an office for a business interview, or step onstage to make a presentation, think about the situation and make a conscious choice about the attitude you want to embody. Attitudes that attract people include friendly, happy, receptive, patient, approachable, welcoming, helpful and curious. Attitudes that are off-putting include angry, impatient, bored, arrogant, afraid, disheartened, and suspicious.
2. Stand tall. Pull your shoulders back and hold your head high. This is a posture of confidence and self-esteem.
3. Smile. A smile is an invitation, a sign of welcome. It says, “I’m friendly and approachable.”
4. Make eye contact. Looking at someone’s eyes transmits energy and indicates interest and openness. (To improve your eye contact, make a practice of noticing the eye color of everyone you meet.)
5. Raise your eyebrows. Open your eyes slightly more than normal to simulate the “eyebrow flash” that is the universal signal of recognition and acknowledgement.
6. Lean in slightly. Leaning forward shows you’re engaged and interested. But be respectful of the other person’s space. That means, in most business situations, staying about two feet away.
7. Shake hands. This is the quickest way to establish rapport. It’s also the most effective. Research shows it takes an average of three hours of continuous interaction to develop the same level of rapport that you can get with a single handshake. (Just make sure you have palm-to-palm contact and that the web of you hand touches the web of the other person’s.)
Every encounter, from business conferences to PTA meetings, presents an opportunity to meet people, network, and expand your professional and personal contacts by making a positive first impression. You’ve got just seven seconds – but if you handle it well, seven seconds are all you need!
In her book, The Nonverbal Advantage – Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work, Carol Kinsey Goman explains how good nonverbal communication can give you a great advantage. There are lots of obvious and also subtle suggestions for giving yourself the best possible chance to get taken seriously and maximize the impact you make on others. Check out Carol Kinsey Goman‘s websites–: www.CKG.com and www.NonverbalAdvantage.com–for more information about her or the services she offers or email her at CGoman@CKG.com.