Seven seconds is all it takes, make your first impression count
You’ve only got seven seconds to make a first impression. Here’s what you can do to make them count.
Seven seconds is all it takes for someone to decide whether they like you or not. This tiny window of opportunity could mean the difference between landing your dream job and having to settle for a dead-end one. It could also make or break your sales pitch, business deal, or even your first date.
Despite our best efforts to not judge a book by its cover, first impressions matter. You don’t have to be as charming as James Bond, but you do need to keep some things in mind if you want to make those seven seconds count. Here’s how.
Look the part
Your physical appearance is the first thing people notice when they first meet you. From the watch you wear to the wrinkles on your shirt, everything about the way you look affects others’ perception of you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to personal style, but some occasions call for more formal dress codes while others are slightly more casual. Dress accordingly.
Look them in the eye
Maintaining eye contact shows you’re interested, confident and paying attention. Constantly looking away, on the other hand, conveys the message that you’re nervous, uninterested and couldn’t care less about the conversation. When someone else is talking, look them in the eye. But don’t stare. It looks creepy.
Leave the scowls and frowns to the pros – teenagers. No one wants to talk to an angsty teen. If you want to leave a positive impression on someone, smile. Smiling tells the world that you’re friendly and approachable. It also shows that you’re confident and comfortable in your skin. Just don’t force it or you’ll end up looking like a paedophile.
Don’t listen to reply, listen to understand
No one likes being interrupted mid-sentence, let them finish what they have to say. But don’t just listen for an opportunity to cut in, make an effort to understand what they’re saying. Don’t make it all about yourself. And don’t space out.
Be genuinely interested
Listen to what the other person has to say and continue the conversation based on their answers. Ask them about their hobbies and what they like to do outside of work. As much as possible, try to engage in more meaningful topics rather than your run-of-the-mill, “So, what do you do?” interview questions. That’s a sure-fire way to appear boring.
“Fake it till you make it” doesn’t apply in this scenario. Don’t tell your crush you love Justin Bieber if you don’t. Don’t boast about a penthouse you don’t live in or a supercar you don’t drive. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. No one likes a phoney.
First impressions matter, whether we like it or not. How do you want others to perceive you? You only get one shot at making a good first impression, make it count.