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

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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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More by this author

Thai Nguyen

Thai's a Mindfulness-Meditation Coach, a 5-Star Chef and an International Kickboxer.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

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