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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.

    How to Think Positive Every Day A Dull Resume Can Kill Your Job Chances, Here’s How You Can Write an Appealing One The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach 20 Most Fun Jobs in the World (That Also Pay Well) How Our Brains Trick Us into Believing the Wrong Things

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

    Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

    The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

    Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

    Perceptual Barrier

    The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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    The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

    The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

    Attitudinal Barrier

    Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

    The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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    The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

    Language Barrier

    This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

    The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

    The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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    Emotional Barrier

    Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

    The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

    The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

    Cultural Barrier

    Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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    The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

    The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

    Gender Barrier

    Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

    The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

    The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

    And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

    Reference

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