Advertising
Advertising

8 Science-Backed Secrets You Should Know To Make A Great First Impression

8 Science-Backed Secrets You Should Know To Make A Great First Impression

Someone’s first impression of you can be difficult to sway after that initial sighting or interaction, whether it’s in a professional setting or social setting. Unfortunately, a negative reaction can be damaging to your career or social life.

In fact, Vivian Zayas, a psychologist at Cornell University, said many people still “judge a book by its cover,” and surprisingly, their first impression of a person usually ends up being quite accurate. So here’s what you can do to make sure that the vibes and first impressions you exude end up wowing everyone you encounter.

Advertising

Aiming For Success?

One surefire way to push through that glass ceiling or break into a circle of friends is to simply look successful, or rather, dress for success. In a British-Turkish study, people rated men in tailored suits as more successful than men in regular suits. The study participants had just five seconds to make that decision, illustrating that clothing communicates superficial, yet important, information about a person.

Are You Trustworthy?

It takes just a tenth of a second for someone to determine if you’re trustworthy. A lack of trust can inhibit your ability to form relationships and network successfully within your career. A Princeton research project shows that people drew trait inferences from others’ facial appearances. In the study, when the length of time was extended for someone to infer a person’s trustworthiness, the observer’s opinion became even more negative. So make sure you’re open, approachable and trustworthy with everyone who crosses your path.

Advertising

Are You Intelligent?

Everyone knows that eye contact is crucial to establishing a positive connection with someone, but it also attributes to their perceived opinion of your smartness. A study by Loyola Marymount University professor Nora A. Murphy revealed that eye contact directly correlates with a person’s opinion of another’s IQ. The study showed that wearing glasses and speaking expressively helps boost your intelligent image, too. This will help both in the workplace and in social settings, particularly if you are hoping to climb the corporate ladder.

What’s Your Socioeconomic Status?

People tend to gravitate toward those who are of a higher socioeconomic status and dressing for that role has a positive impact on others’ first impression of you. A Dutch study found that people who wore well-known name brand clothes appeared to be of a more affluent status that those who did not wear designer clothes. The study revealed that such a perceived first impression of a societal status has its benefits in social settings, incurring preferential treatment and financial perks for those people.

Advertising

Do You Like To Take Charge?

No one likes a bossy person, but being a strong, dominant person can pay off at work or in a social setting. For men who are bald, the odds are in their favor. A University of Pennsylvania study discovered that men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant that other men with full heads of hair.

Does Attire Equal Promotions?

Business attire shows that you, well, mean business. In a Canadian study, participants rated male models dressed in business attire as earning a higher income and more deserving of a promotion than men dressed in casual attire. This could have a significant impression in the workplace and outside the office, too.

Advertising

Are You Adventurous?

It’s not just how you dress or smile, but the way you move that also makes an impression on others. In a Durham University study, people’s gaits were observed and it was determined in just a few steps that people with looser gaits were considered extroverts and adventurous, while those with shortened, clipped paces were seen as neurotic. If someone can’t see your face and expressions, the next thing they’ll judge is your body movements and attire. While how you walk may not be truly accurate of who you are, keep in mind when entering a party or walking into a meeting that people are watching how you carry yourself and move.

Do You Come Across As Having Poor Morals?

In one quick glimpse, people will perceive you as someone who might make poor life choices based upon whether or not you have a tattoo and are a heavy drinker. According to a British study, women with visible tattoos were considered to be less attractive and more promiscuous than women who did not have any ink on them. While this perception may not hold as true in the U.S. where body art is more and more common, this British study based negative first impressions off of how extensive someone’s tattoos were and the amount of alcohol consumed in one sitting.

Advertising

Want To Make A Good First Impression?

While not everyone with a tattoo or lack of hair is a shady friend or unsuccessful co-worker, studies show that some of the factors that form people’s first impression of you do have an impact on your career path and social circle. So keep in mind this checklist the next time you head off to a party or into work.

More by this author

You Don’t Need To Be Strong All The Time, It’s OK To Feel Weak And Cry No More Addiction To Work: 5 Tips On Maintaining Work-Life Balance 12 Squat Exercises For Ladies Who Want Bubble Butts Stranded Killer Whale Cries For Help, People Do Something Priceless To It Two Grandmothers Broke The Tradition And Gave Their Grandkids The Best Wedding Blessing Ever

Trending in Communication

1 Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad? 2 How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication 3 11 Facts About Volunteering That Will Surely Impress You 4 I Hate My Wife – Why a Husband Would Resent His Spouse 5 How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

Advertising

Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

Advertising

Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

Advertising

Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

Advertising

This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

Advertising

Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next