The Magic of First Impressions
Is that surprising for you to know that some people around you, who actually don’t know you well, even people who didn’t talk to you once, have a strong opinion of you in terms of who you are? Maybe you noticed or not, but people do this every day.
There is a very good book about this topic I can highly recommend. It’s called “First Impressions”, written by Ann Demarais and Valerie White. This book gives a clear understanding about this human behavior. I will now share with you some key points from this book together with my comments on the topic.
The Psychology of First Impressions
The fact is that at our first encounter with someone new, or from the first moment we show up in a new environment, we are immediately evaluated. People unconsciously judge us and interpret our body language, our clothing style, the tone of our voice, our conversing manner, the expressions on our face, everything we gave them or that we did not. And they conclude what kind of person we are and decide whether they like us or not.
If we made a first impression on our interlocutors as a polite, kind, or clever person, they will remember us later in that way. They will even imagine us with some more other positive character traits, even though we didn’t show any clue of them. Further, they will develop expectations about how we may react on various situations in the future. They will seek things in us which are consistent with their first impression. In other words, they will want to confirm their first impression. And in our later interaction, however, if we demonstrate a contrasting behavior with our first impression, they will most probably ignore it or interpret it against the situation or something else. Negative first impressions have even more strong opposite effect.
It is all because of this simple physiological rule: the first information people get about anything influences the way to process later information. To be more precise, the first information is used to process later information. And people tend to believe what they learn first. A first impression has such a strong and a long lasting effect on people!
On the first interaction, people very quickly form an opinion about us based on a very little piece of information. However, they think this little information represents 100% of who we are. Therefore, a first impression is our first, and sometimes only, chance to provide an accurate and correct image of ourselves.
Here I formulated some basic rules to create killer first impressions:
Rock Your Mood
This means that your mood matters in making a positive first impression. It will affect everything about you, from your body language to the tone of your voice. Therefore, you should feel good about yourself. This is the first most important thing. Your communication success depends on this. If, for instance, you do not feel confident, joyful or talkative before a first encounter, how can you make people laugh and feel good?
Therefore, before going to any meeting or even going out of home, the first thing to do is to put yourself in a positive mental state. Read something positive and inspirational, do physical exercises, eat healthy food, listen to your favorite music, wear some new, stylish and clean clothes, or a favorite scent, call a funny friend or watch Jim Carrey or any other best comedian. Whatever you do, be certain to rock your mood.
Rock Their Mood
Consider this part as your mission. That means giving what people seek from a social interaction like feeling of belonging, appreciation, connection, entertainment, and enlightenment and so on.
Smile: When you enter a place, smile. No matter if you feel it or not. Just smile. This means that you are enjoying yourself. A smile also gives a signal which is unconsciously interpreted as an indicator that you are a friend.
Eye contact: Look at people in their eyes and at the same time try to smile with your eyes.
Entertain: It is always best to have some funny short stories which are compatible with various situations. It will immediately break the ice and raise your interlocutor’s mood, and yours as well. No matter what you talk about. Just be sure you talk with enthusiasm and energy.
Listen: This is the crucial and most important ingredient in a real communication. Never neglect to really listen.
Honor: After having listened; give them your sincere appreciation about what they have or did. This may be about simple things which could normally be ignored. If you appreciate and honor them in front of their friends on something they care about, they will feel honored and never forget you.
Enlighten: Share with your interlocutor some practical and interesting news, knowledge, tips, etc whatever you have. You are the source. That makes you valuable, someone who is worth meeting again and staying in touch with.
Almost every day we find ourselves in new environments and get in contact with new people. If we want to build good relationships with people and get ahead in business and life in general, we must pay attention to the way we present ourselves and strive to make the best first impression possible.
It will be wise to choose the impression which we wish to create, rather than leaving it to chance.
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