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What People Who Give Off Great First Impressions Do Differently

What People Who Give Off Great First Impressions Do Differently

Have you ever dreamed of confidently walking into a room and becoming the magnet of attraction? Admit it, it’s a yes.

Did you know that studies have shown that we accurately predict someone’s social, economic, education, success and confidence levels in less than three seconds? What conclusions did you come to the last time you met someone new?

93% of the impression you make is based on what you look like and how you sound. Words are only responsible for 7% of the initial impression. If you want to leave a great first impression, your appearance and tone of voice need to show confidence and self-esteem. Then the message of your words can take over.

So here are some of the most important things that people who make great first impressions don’t do.

1. They don’t dart their eyes.

How do you feel when you are in the middle of a conversation and the person you are talking to looks away to check out who else is in the room? You probably feel insignificant. So don’t do this to someone else. And if you dart your eyes more than once during a conversation, it becomes repulsive.

Keep a steady gaze and give your undivided attention and empathy through eye contact, a slight tilt of the head, leaning in and nodding.

2. They don’t say stupid things.

A former colleague once asked where I went to college. I said, “Cornell,” and his immediate response was, “How did you get into that school? Who did you pay to take your SATs for you?” My jaw dropped and so did those of other co-workers who heard him. I immediately thought he was a jerk for saying such a stupid thing.

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It’s likely the fact that I went to a great school triggered a part of him that felt inferior. A few months later, when he and I spent a day together working on a project, he said, “I never knew you were so interesting and deep. I really like you. I’m so sorry for what I said.” So my negative impression of him turned positive after spending so much time with him.

You will probably not get a second chance to undo a negative first impression. So it’s important for you to bite your tongue when you want to say something dumb. Think before you speak.

3. They don’t hide their vulnerabilities.

Being vulnerable means you are confident enough to express your feelings. “I’m a little apprehensive coming to events where I don’t know anyone. But I’ve found that as soon as I introduce myself to someone I don’t know, I feel good. Hi, my name is…” Or, if after some small talk, you feel you are not at your best and something else is on your mind, admit it. “I’m usually a little more lively but I just experienced a horrible break up.”

By showing your vulnerabilities first, the other person will more than likely reciprocate with what they have experienced. You’ve just made a much deeper connection than you would have otherwise.

4. They don’t brag about themselves.

Someone who talks on and on about how great they are is a big turn off. “I just bought a Porsche…I’m the Vice President of….I have a summer home in the Hamptons…Let me show you my wine cellar…etc.” Wait until you are asked to share more about your life. And when you do share, be humble.

5. They don’t look sloppy.

Everyone judges a book by its cover. How you show up is a reflection of your self-worth. You don’t want your appearance to turn people off. Show up presentable and polished.

6. They don’t forget to say the person’s name.

There is nothing sweeter than the sound of your own name. How did you feel the last time someone said your name in the middle of sentence? Probably pretty good. Because so few people remember to say a person’s name in the middle of a conversation, if you do this, you’ll leave a better impression than most.

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7. They don’t sneak peeks at their phone.

If you’ve been the on the receiving end of someone who constantly looks at their texts and emails as you talk to them, you probably felt unimportant and you probably wanted to drop the conversation and move on. Give the gift of your undivided attention. Because so few people do this, you will positively stand out.

8. They don’t have poker face. 

Lack of expression will look like you are holding something back or that you are socially awkward. A genuine smile makes you approachable and attractive.

9. They don’t walk like a wimp.

When someone walks with their shoulders slumped and looking down, what’s your impression? “What’s their problem? They look like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.” If you have burdens that hold you back from feeling good, do something about them so you can show up confident.

10. They don’t talk like a wimp.

Speaking tentatively and softly shows lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Work with a coach or therapist to overcome your fears so you can speak fearlessly and confidently.

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    11. They don’t forget to ask about people’s families.

    Find an opening to ask questions about family. Your connection will go deeper fast.

    12. They don’t talk excessively about their kids.

    Most people are not interested in hearing everything about your kids. Pick another topic.

    13. They don’t have negative self-talk.

    Ever been guilty of thinking, “I’m a loser, I’m fat, I’m ugly, I’m not smart, I’ll never amount to anything, etc.”? The more negative self-talk you have, the lower your energetic vibration and the more likely you will turn people off.

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    Positive thoughts such as, “I’m fabulous, I’m smart, I’m attractive, I’m loving,” emit positive energy and make you attractive.

    14. They don’t churn in the past.

    Just about everyone has emotional baggage. Some have more than others. If you have made lemonade out of your lemons of your negative experiences, share your story and inspire others.

    15. They don’t hide their bodies.

    Having 10 extra pounds on you is not going to ruin your first impression. When you are proud of your body, others will be attracted to your self-love energy.

    On the other hand, if you are too out of shape, it reflects a lack of self-love. So you need to get to the bottom of why you don’t love yourself enough to treat your body right.

    16. They don’t wait for others to approach them.

    If you approach others first, they will be impressed with your confidence at making them feel at ease. Everyone is waiting for someone else to go first. Why not let that be you?

    17. They don’t talk too much.

    You have one mouth and two ears. When you let others talk through asking questions because you are genuinely curious, you will leave a great impression because you are making the other person feel important about what they have to say.

    18. They don’t monopolize the conversation.

    If you are on the receiving end of someone who is very attentive to what you have to say, just remember to reciprocate and make it a two-way conversation. Reciprocate and ask questions about them so that you can leave a great impression too.

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    19. They don’t interrupt.

    It’s rude to cut someone off in the middle of a sentence. If you’ve been on the receiving end of this you know how bad this feels. So don’t do this to someone else. Wait until they are finished before you speak.

    20. They don’t just ask small talk questions. 

    Small talk is fine when you first meet someone, but it won’t help you make a lasting bonds. When appropriate, go deeper with more powerful questions. These questions also help to make them feel validated and important.

    • What’s most exciting about what you do?
    • What would you like to be doing three years from now? What’s your mission?
    • What’s the biggest challenge you have with getting to the next level? Maybe I have someone in my network I can introduce you to help you get there.

    21. They don’t hold back compliments.

    The #1 most important human need is to be validated and appreciated. Give sincere compliments freely. “I love your dress.” “I love your tie.” “I admire the passion you have for raising money for the Cancer Society.”

    22. They don’t hesitate to touch.

    Touching appropriately mean a soft touch to the elbow, back or shoulder. When the moment is right, take advantage of the this sincere gesture, you will be instantly seen as more attractive and likable.

    23. They don’t hesitate to help others.

    Help solve other’s problems first. Maybe it’s a tip, maybe it’s an introduction to someone in your network. In return, the Universe will eventually show you the help you need to take your life to the next level.

    24. They don’t forget to follow up within 24 hours.

    How did you feel when an acquaintance followed through with something? You were probably pleasantly surprised because very few people follow through with promises. Follow up right away to leave a lasting great impression.

    Bottom line:

    You only have three seconds to make a great first impression. If you want to be the magnet of attraction, not only do you need to have confidence and self-esteem, you also need to show verbally and nonverbally that you are genuinely happy to get to know them. The more you make the other person feel comfortable, heard and seen, the more you will be instantly liked and leave a great and lasting impression. Conversely, if you are too self-absorbed, people will avoid you like the plague when you walk into a room.

     

    Resources to further your learning:
    Basic techniques of winning others over: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
    Advanced techniques of winning others over: Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2020

    8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

    8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

    How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

    Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

    When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

    Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

    What Makes People Poor Listeners?

    Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

    1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

    Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

    Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

    It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

    2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

    This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

    Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

    3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

    It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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    I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

    If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

    4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

    While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

    To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

    My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

    Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

    Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

    How To Be a Better Listener

    For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

    1. Pay Attention

    A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

    According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

    As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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    I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

    2. Use Positive Body Language

    You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

    A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

    People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

    But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

    According to Alan Gurney,[2]

    “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

    Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

    3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

    I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

    Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

    Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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    Be polite and wait your turn!

    4. Ask Questions

    Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

    5. Just Listen

    This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

    I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

    I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

    6. Remember and Follow Up

    Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

    For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

    According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

    It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

    7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

    If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

    Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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    Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

    Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

    NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

    1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
    2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

    8. Maintain Eye Contact

    When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

    Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

    By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

    Final Thoughts

    Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

    You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

    And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

    More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
    [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
    [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
    [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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