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Most People Fail to Leave a Good Impression Because They Focus on the Wrong Things

Most People Fail to Leave a Good Impression Because They Focus on the Wrong Things

Are you interested in a powerful lifehack that will change how your life unfolds? What if all it required was to change your posture for two minutes? If we simply focus on tweaking our posture, we change who we are. [1]

Our body language communicates who we are. In fact, we make sweeping judgements from body language. For example, associate psychology professor Joseph Tecce found that something crazy like a lower blink rate predicted presidential winners. [2]

We immediately size someone up when we first meet them, but what are judging them on? Harvard social psychologist and best-selling author of the book Presence, Amy Cuddy says that people seek to answer two important questions when they first meet you.

  1. Can I trust you?
  2. Can I respect you?

Our non-verbal actions reveal who we are and shape how we are perceived. We make quite a bit of mistakes that hold us back and provide people a negative perception of us.

Are you making these common mistakes?

Cuddy points out that people typically believe that competence is the most important trait in making a good first impression. Yet, while this trait is highly valued, this tends to backfire on people if trust has not yet been established. Let’s take a look at five common mistakes we make that fail to leave a good first impression.

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    1. Smartest person in the room. Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room (remember, we are first judged on our trustworthiness).
    2. Frightened animal. Essentially, don’t collapse your body.
    3. Hiding in your shell. People tend to contract when they should expand their body.
    4. Fidgeting. Don’t play with your jewelry or pick at yourself.
    5. Subordination. Stop subordinating yourself to people. If you find yourself doing this, mirror the body language of the other person.

    So, how can we use our body to change our mind?

    Power poses to boost power and confidence

    Cuddy points out in her famous Ted Talk that there are specific things we can do (and practice) to feel more powerful and confident. The first thing we should do when seeking to make a good first impression is to stop talking so much. It’s ironic that we try so hard to leave a good impression that we actually end up leaving a bad impression. [3]

    Additionally, there are specific things we can do through our body language to project power and confidence. Cuddy calls them power poses. Let’s take a look at them and see if they can help you in your quest to project a person who is respected and trustworthy.

    How to leave an impression of trustworthiness

    The best way to lose trust is for someone to catch your body doing something different than what you are saying. This is where fidgeting can hurt you. Try this power pose when you feel subordinate to another or you find you regularly fidget while interacting with people.

      The Wonder Woman. Puff out your chest, plant your hands on your hips, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tilt your chin up for that extra sense of power.

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      How to show people they can respect you

      Use your posture to both intimidate and seduce! Practice the following two power poses.

        The Loomer. If you are looking to close a deal, plant your hands on the table and lean forward.

        The Performer. If you are looking to gain confidence before interacting with a person or group, plant your feet wide and stretch your arms overhead in a V shape. Be sure to do this before you interact and not during.

        How to become an active listener

        This is one of the most difficult skills to attain. We often fail to actively listen during a conversation. Instead, we find ourselves trying to formulate our response while the other person is speaking. Try the following power poses and become a better active listener.

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          The CEO. Lean in by leaning back during your next job interview. Rest your arm on the back of your chair, keep your knees apart, and recline.

            The Obama. Love him or hate him, President Obama has a cool aurora about him. Try this the next time you are pitching or receiving an idea. Rest your feet on the table, clasp your hands behind your head, and lean back. Just remember, you might not want to do this during a job interview!

            Let’s look at a few more tricks that will help you make a great first impression.

            Fake it ’till you make it!

            The following list provides tips and techniques from How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships by Leil Lowndes.

            1. Sticky eyes. Pretend your eyes are glued to your partners with sticky taffy. Essentially, don’t break eye contact.

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            2. Epoxy eyes. Watch your target person even when speaking with someone else. No matter who is speaking, keep looking at your target person.

            3. Hang by your teeth. Visualize a circus iron-jaw bit hanging from a door fame you are walking through. Bite down and let it hang you by your teeth, with every muscle stretched into the perfect posture.

            4. Mood match. Before speaking, take a “psychic photograph” of the person you are interacting with. Match their mood and tone of voice.

            5. Parroting. Here is a trick so that you will never be left speechless again. Similar to a parrot, repeat the last few words your conversation partner says. This will place the conversation back in their court, where all you need to do is listen – specifically to those last few words.

            6. Comm-YOU-nication. When you start every ‘appropriate’ conversation with “you” … you will grab the other persons attention. This will get a more positive response.

            Making a good first impression matters. First impressions are nearly impossible to undo, so make sure your first encounters are done right. Focus on eliminating the common mistakes and start practicing the power poses discussed earlier.

            And remember, trust takes years to build, but only seconds to break.

              Reference

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              Dr. Jamie Schwandt

              Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt & Red Team Critical Thinker

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              Last Updated on April 1, 2019

              How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

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              When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

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              Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

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              You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

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              To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

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