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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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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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