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If Looks Could Kill | 8 Killer Ways to Dominate Every First Impression

If Looks Could Kill | 8 Killer Ways to Dominate Every First Impression

Everyone is familiar with the saying, “A picture speaks a thousand words.” It is very much also the case that first impressions speak a thousand words. As admirable as the appeal is to never judge a book by its cover, we unfortunately do not possess the capability to peer deep into another person’s soul to understand the content of their character. The reality is that we all make very quick judgements based off first impressions.

In fact, Malcolm Gladwell, the eminent author, dedicated a whole book, Blink, to highlight the snap decisions that we make.

One of the most fascinating cases that he covers in the book involves groups of students who are asked to give an evaluation on a teacher. One group gave evaluations after a whole semester in class with the professor; another group watched a one hour video of the professor; one group was shown half an hour video; and the last group was shown merely two seconds—with no sound.

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Can you guess the results? The last group that watched merely two seconds of video with absolutely no sound gave the same evaluations as the students that spend a whole semester in class with the professor!

Our snap-judgments and first impressions are pretty impressively accurate. Many psychologists will also note that in job interviews, hiring decisions are subconsciously made within the first few seconds of the meeting. It is clear that making a great first impression is absolutely crucial!

Here are 8 ways you can dominate every first impression.

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1. Smile

Dr. Vivian Diller is a psychologist who studies the role of beauty in contemporary culture and has pointed out that, of all human facial features, it is a person’s smile that elicits the most positive and immediate reaction from others. Anytime you are out in public, and particularly if you have a meeting with someone, make sure you have those “pearly whites” ready to flash.

2. Mind Your Body Language

Amy Cuddy, in her Ted Talk titled, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, with over fourteen million views, uncovers the fascinating relationship between our body postures and not only how it influences our own feelings and perceptions, but also how it influences other’s perceptions of us. Stand up straight and walk tall. Not only will you experience the empowering effects, but so will the person you are about to meet.

3. See it and Believe it

The power of visualization has received immense credibility in light of recent developments in the field of Neuropsychology. It has been shown that the brain does not differentiate between an image that is imagined in the mind and what plays out in reality. This explains why so many athletes are coached to mentally rehearse something in their mind before they physically engage in it. Before your meeting, play out a successful meeting in your mind: see yourself as that confident, smiling person that is absolutely and impressively off the charts.

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4. Talk To Yourself

Positive self-talk has been around for a long time and has been used and advocated by many successful people in the world. Just like a coach yelling encouragement from the sidelines, we can do the same thing for ourselves. Tell yourself that you are an incredibly confident person with an amazing smile that leaves an incredibly positive impression on everyone that you meet. Come up with your own little mantra and repeat that to yourself before that next important meeting.

5. Talk For Yourself

This is important in group scenarios. Although it is okay to have another person make the initial introduction with your name, it should not go much further than that. That is, when you need to step in and engage in conversations and speak for yourself. A confident person initiates conversation, ask questions, and engages with the person they are talking to—not merely being a bystander and adding sporadic commentary here and there.

6. Dress to Impress

Get out that GQ suit or Valentino dress. Jennifer Baumgartner, a clinical psychologist and author of You Are What You Wear, notes the correlation between your state of mind and your outfit. If you cannot impress yourself with the way you are dressed, then you are not going to feel very impressive. More importantly, the people you meet aren’t going to be very impressed.

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7. Everyone Is A Gold Ticket

Your thoughts will become apparent in your attitude and the way you convey yourself. If you think the person you are talking to is just a waste of time, then you will treat them that way. The truth is, we have no idea what anyone has the capability of doing. They personally may not have the ability to open a huge door for us, but their best friend might be the CEO of the company we are dying to work for. Treat everyone as though they have the potential to change your destiny.

8. The “Elevator Pitch”

What if you only had 30 seconds to convince someone not to kill you? Hopefully, you will never ever have to be in that situation, though it definitely is a great way for you to think about how to put together a great introduction for yourself. An important point when meeting with new people is not to dominate the conversation. Have your introduction succinct enough to give a little snippet into who you are, but be sure to ask them to share about them. Make the other person feel important by being interested in them, and you will be surprised at how interested they become in you.

You will most likely meet a new person today, whether at the grocery store check-out, catching a bus, a new client at work, or that big interview. Make sure you walk through all 8 of these steps and you will no doubt leave them with a great first impression that will last!

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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