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Everything You Need to Know About Making A Good First Impression

There’s an adage that says, ‘you never get a second chance to make a fist impression’.  And, considering that it takes between seven to eleven seconds to create this impression, you must act fast to create a positive and long lasting one.

We like to think that we are open-minded and non-judgmental, which for most things, we can be.  However, just like our ancestors had to make the decision of ‘friend of foe’ in split seconds for their survival, today, while, we aren’t deciding about sabre-toothed tigers, this instinct remains.

In just a few seconds, we judge (and are judged) in up to 11 areas ranging from confidence to integrity. We are looking to see if this person is ‘friend or foe’, if we can trust them, and if they are confident and competent. We also look at their warmth and strength.

For first impressions, nonverbal cues have more influence than verbal cues. In fact, research has shown that non-verbal cues are four times more powerful than verbal cues in making decisions about first impressions. And, once made, they are difficult to change as our cognitive bias continues to look to things that support our original decision.

While we can’t guarantee people’s thoughts or reactions, we can take steps to put our best selves forward to make the best first impression. Here are six ways to better a first impression:

  1. Align your intention:

Before entering a room or office, check your intention. How do you want to be seen?  How is your attitude? Is it confident or arrogant? Friendly or standoffish?    Though it’s unspoken, people can easily pick up on attitude. To be more authentic, align your intention and attitude.

  1. Posture:

Strength and status are shown by size and height. Standing tall with good posture and open body language (arms relaxed and uncrossed) helps show and feel confidence.

  1. Smile:

A quick and easy way to show warmth and friendliness is with a genuine smile.  A genuine smile involves both the eyes and the mouth. Try smiling with your eyes and your mouth will follow.

  1. Eye Contact:

The eyes can show energy, trust and interest. A good way to get comfortable with eye contact is to practice holding eye contact until you know what color the eyes are.

  1. Show your hands:

People who show their hands are often perceived as being more trustworthy and honest.  As you walk into a room or when speaking, keep your hands visible and out of pockets. By using your hands in alignment with your words, you will add energy and have more impact to what you are saying.

  1. Dress to impress:

First impressions are heavily weighed by appearance. By dressing and grooming properly, you give the impression of competence and confidence. Proper dressing also gives you confidence as it psychologically puts you in a professional state of mind to put your best self forward.

About the Author:
Khaula Abbas
Confidence Community Lead

Khaulah is the founder of Your Professional Presence (YPP), a coaching and training service that helps working women in becoming leaders.

Before starting (YPP), Khaulah spent eight years working as a Master Franchiser in Canada. After a successful career in retail, she decided to help people in a more holistic way. Today, with over 10 years’ experience, Khaulah is certified as a Body Language Master trainer, a Communication and Style Coach and Reiki Healer who has helped students and professionals alike from all walks of life from around the world.

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