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You Only Have 7 Seconds To Leave A Good First Impression. Here’s How You Can Nail It.

You Only Have 7 Seconds To Leave A Good First Impression. Here’s How You Can Nail It.

There are 86,400 seconds in a day. More than 30 million seconds in a year.

But it only takes 7 seconds to form a first impression.[1]

And these 7 seconds can change your coming years if not the entire life.

7 seconds to leave an impressive first impression on your future partner.

7 seconds to make your prospective employer think you’re trustworthy and bright in an interview.

If we know how to make the best out of these magical 7 second of time, it can be a pot of gold. We will be well ahead of the others.

If You Make A Bad First Impression, You Can Hardly Change It Afterwards…

Wait.. First impression isn’t that important. People can eventually understand who we are actually capable of through interaction afterwards. We can easily prove who we really are later on, can’t we?

Well… Of course we hope we can.

But science has revealed at least twice the effort is required to change the first impression.[2]

The die is cast at the very beginning.

First Impression Is A Trick The Brain Plays On Us

Ever heard of anchoring effect and confirmation bias?

Anchoring effect is the tendency to base too heavily on the first given piece of information to make decision.[3]

Confirmation bias is the tendency to favor in a way that confirms the preexisting beliefs and hypotheses. More importantly, disproportionately consideration is given to the alternative possibility.

What do they do with first impression?[4]

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First, with limited understanding of new friends we meet, we tend to instantly rely on our intuitive to form our perceptions of who they are.

Second, confirmation bias makes it difficult for us to change our biased perceptions. When we further interact with our new friends, we will keep collecting information to prove our judgement is right and ignore anything against our beliefs.

That means, first impression is the by-product of our biased minds.

Do I Need To Disguise Myself If I Want To Leave A Good Impression?

Nah. Not to be confused between ‘impressing others’ and ‘leaving a good impression’.

Impressing others means changing ourselves to fit in others’ expectations.

Leaving a good impression means showing your best self to the others. No changing is involved at all.

Don’t pretend. Don’t disguise. Don’t hide our true self.

The key is that we want the others feel good by our presence, as if the way we want to be treated when we meet new friends.

True. We should not judge a book by its cover. But who will bother picking up the book if its cover scares people off? In order for others to explore us further and deeper, we need to seek a way for them to be interested in us at the very first.

Be a book with rich content as well as an attractive cover.

How To 100% Make Sure I Leave A Great First Impression

Well, leaving a good impression can be done in a multitude of ways. From clothing to posture, from talking style to body language. Below are several tips for you to begin with:[5]

Physical Appearance Matters. We’re Visual Creatures After All.

Before actually knowing you deeper through interaction, physical appearance is the first clue one relies on to interpret who we are.

Besides, it is a way to show respect by choosing appropriate attire for different settings. It also means the person means something to us by dressing properly.

If it is a business setting, be aware of the dress code or culture. The requirement varies from culture to culture. A thumbs-up here does not mean the same elsewhere. Do the research!

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Grooming and dressing are the key here. Are you cleanly shaved? Is your hairstyle messy? Are the clothes neat and tidy? The neatness and tidiness from all these little areas affect much on the impression on the whole.

Don’t Fake A Smile. People Will Doubt Your Sincerity.

    ▲ (Left) A fake smile vs (Right) A genuine smile

    Don’t squeeze a fake smile. A fake smile looks unnatural and it may even creep people out. It can potentially do more harm than good in our attempts to leave a good impression.

    Then what makes a genuine smile?

    A genuine smile means a Duchenne smile. It means when you smile, you raise the muscles at the corner of your mouth, of your cheeks and of your eyebrows. Smile is only genuine when our brows are raising and more importantly. It is an involuntary action.[6]

    It is understandable that sometimes it is hard to suddenly crack a smile. Then at least try not to look intimidating and grumpy!

    Positivity plays a crucial part in shaping our first impression.

    Look Into People’s Eyes Until You See The Colors of Their Irises

    Maintaining a moderate amount of eye contact delivers a sense of intimacy to the one we interact with. Consequently, they feel more connected to us and tend to be more positive toward the interaction and our content.

    What makes a quality eye contact? Well, try to identify the color of the others’ irises. Get it? That makes a good eye contact example.

    Moreover, numerous studies have shown that eye contact is associated with the following traits:

    Attractive. Competent. Trustworthy. Sincere. Confident.

    Are these the impression we want to leave? Stop staring at the ground and look at people in the eye then!

    It’s Not About What You Speak But How You Speak

    The manner we talk also contributes to our success in leaving a good impression.

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    Dressing and grooming, check.

    Smile, check.

    Eye contact, check.

    We are confident about our qualification. Now, delivery is the key.

    Don’t rush your answer. Think thoroughly before any words come out of our mouth. Rapid answering gives an impression of insecurity and anxiety. Yet, don’t stay too long to answer or you appear hesitant. Try to ask ourselves whether the answer is complete and perfect. Fine? Then answer.

    Give ourselves a break of one to two seconds before answering. We need time to put it in the best possible way.

    The tempo matters too. Never speak too fast. It’s difficult to capture the gist in a machine-gun style of flow. It is lethal to any interaction. It is deadly to our impression.

    Instead, talk with ease. Have a steady and calm flow. Properly segment our sentences to ensure the others can follow us and get the idea.

    Tones play a role too. Moderate alternation of tones avoids us sounding too dull and monotonous. A slightly raise or dip of tone can hint on the important part of the message. Raise of volume also works.

    In the end, we will find ourselves sounding more appealing than we can imagine.

    Never Perform Your One-Man Show In Communication

    The notion ‘interaction’ implies the participation of everyone. None is solely responsible to do the talking part and neither is listening.

    Remember conversation is a turn-taking action. We talk. They listen. They respond. We listen.

    It is simply nonsense to constantly talking, depriving others of their opportunities to speak.

    I know we are eager to show our best self. I know we can’t wait to express our brilliant thoughts. Sometimes it is essential for others to respond to us.

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    Learning to be a good listener is often overlooked by gifted speakers.

    While listening, take notes of what the others are talking about. Attend to the others’ speaking by leaning slightly toward them.

    Don’t idle our minds away. Communication involves interaction. If we only concern our own content and never respond, this is called ‘turn-taking individual speaking’, which is definitely irrelevant to leaving a good impression.

    Do You Hate Compliments? I Don’t

    Look for something to praise the others. It can bring closer one another and connect with others more.

    If we are thinking about the physical appearance, be careful! It appears superficial to comment on the looks of other people.

    Try to turn to the dressing styles. Compliment on them.

    Are they well matched? Does the color bring about some enlightening power?

    Remember conversation is interactive. If we praise the others, they are more willing to praise us and BINGO! We get the desired remarks and impression.

    Remember that 7 seconds are enough to change your life!

    Lastly, there are two videos to give you some insights on how to leave a good impression at work and in the first date:[7] [8]

    Reference

    More by this author

    Jeffrey Lau

    Editor. Sport Lover. Animal Lover.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Warning Signs That You’re a People Pleaser

    5 Warning Signs That You’re a People Pleaser

    Do any of the followings sound familiar…

    You cringe at the thought of saying no. You obsess about what others think of you and whether you’re doing something to make them dislike you. You live your life based on the opinions of others because you are deathly afraid of disappointing them.

    If you say yes to all of these, you are likely a chronic people pleaser.

    It’s hard not to struggle with people-pleasing at one time or another in our lives. As social beings, it’s in our nature to get along with others; our survival and success depend on it.

    However, there is a fine line between healthy social behavior and the experience of emotional depletion caused by chronic people-pleasing. In addition to being emotionally drained, you may find yourself compromising on your principles and values in order to be accepted. As you help others to get what they want, your own health and well-being will suffer.

    As a recovering people pleaser myself, I’ve observed these five common signs of chronic people-pleasing and some ways to overcome it:

    1. You’re Incapable of Saying No

    Do you find it painfully hard to turn down the requests of family, friends, and even acquaintances or strangers? You really want to say no, but instead, you say yes to their various demands.

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    Before you know it, you’ve become the go-to person when something needs to get done. From the small to the large, you take on every task. You may even be considered a hero to some.

    On the inside, you’re suffering. You genuinely want to help others, but you also know that you are depleting your own resources with every “yes.” You may fear that you’ll lose your friendships and good reputation by saying no. After all, last thing you want to be called is selfish.

    Solution

    First, realize that your capacity to care for others and your capacity to care for yourself are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the two are intimately related.

    Second, understand that you are not responsible for the happiness of those around you. They are. Let these two realities give you permission to say no. Start practicing with small requests. Refuse kindly, and without apology.

    2. You Avoid Making Decisions or Sharing Your Opinions

    Do you have a hard time voicing your opinions and feelings in a group setting or with close friends? Do you constantly allow others to make decisions for you?

    You understand a deep truth about decisions and opinions: they divide. However, it’s not in your nature to cause division by speaking up, so you remain silent to avoid conflict.

    Over time, this behavior is deadly, because as you defer to the opinions and decisions of others, you are silencing your own voice. This will rob the world of your unique perspectives and gifts.

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    Solution

    Remember that you can disagree without being disagreeable. People can have divergent opinions and still treat each other with respect and kindness. So give voice to your thoughts, concerns, and needs.

    By speaking up, you may rock the boat. You may even be outvoted. But if you treat others with respect, they will respect you even when they disagree with your opinions and choices.

    3. You’re Crushed When You Discover Someone Doesn’t like You

    This is a hard one. It seems reasonable to assume that if you go out of your way to please everyone, then everyone will like you. But it’s not true.

    Some people will dislike you simply because of who you are or for reasons outside of your control. You understand this intellectually, but you cannot stop trying to win the few holdouts.

    Solution

    Closely examine your desire to be liked by everyone. Did this originate in your childhood, as you tried to win the affections of family members or friends at school? Use tools such as reflection, meditation, and counseling to help you let go of past negative experiences.

    As social beings, we need to be loved and accepted – but not by everyone. Decide whose love and affection is worth the effort and whose is not.

    4. You’re Resentful of Others but Are Not Sure Why

    This often happens when we suppress our feelings and needs over the long term.

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    Do you feel unexplained anger toward your close friends, spouse, or boss? The anger is your subconscious telling you that you have been neglecting yourself while helping others advance their goals. Think of this resentment as the “check engine” light turning on in your car. Don’t ignore it.

    Solution

    Face the truth of what is going on in your life. If you’re feeling overextended or taken advantage of, acknowledge these feelings. Avoid second-guessing yourself. Find time for self care, and make this a priority.

    5. You’re Unaware of How Far You’re Willing to Go – Until You’re in over Your Head

    This is a sure sign that you lack proper boundaries. You avoid setting limits because you believe this runs counter to having a generous spirit. But this simply allows people greater latitude to intrude into your life. The requests may become more and more unreasonable and you may not realize it until someone has crossed the line.

    If you’ve taken on too much, you may experience passive aggressive behavior, crying for no apparent reason, anxiety, or depression.

    Solution

    Be willing to admit that your time and energy are limited, not because you’re selfish, but because it’s the truth.

    Boundaries are simply a recognition of that truth. Do not be afraid to set your boundaries and enforce them. It will take a while for you and others to get used to it, but you’ll experience an increased sense of well-being, and people will learn to accept your limits.

    Learn to set boundaries for good: How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

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    Final Thoughts

    You can be generous without allowing yourself to be used. You can be kind without being a pushover. You can be well-liked without having to sell your soul.

    Don’t allow your fears and insecurities to turn you into a chronic people-pleaser. Instead, make time to please one of the most important people in your life: you.

    Why? Because when you care for yourself, you can care for others out of the abundance of your own well-being. You will do this not because you are afraid of losing their affection, but simply because you want to. You will experience true freedom.

    So decide today to give yourself the same love and attention you give to others. This is one decision you won’t regret.

    More Tips to Help You

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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