First impressions are immensely powerful.
In fact, we already form our first impression of somebody new in one-tenth of a second.
People who make positive first impressions stay completely away from these four awful habits.
1) Evading eye contact
Making eye contact shows confidence, sincerity and trust.
It also shows that you’re interested and open to meeting or interacting with someone.
When you first meet someone and avoid eye contact, it sends an immediate signal that you don’t want to be sending:
I don’t want to interact with you.
It can make you seem:
These are all appearances that you want to avoid when making a positive first impression.
2) Poor posture
Many of us have poor posture. I know I do.
When you first meet someone and their very first impressions are formed, posture is key.
This is true all the way from the animal kingdom up to human beings.
Body language speaks louder than words, and in any case those crucial first impressions will be formed long before actual words are exchanged.
While this may only be a few seconds, in terms of our mental and sensory processing capacity it’s a lifetime.
First impressions are very hard to change and form the instinctive core of how we regard somebody and feel about them.
No matter how much our opinion changes about them, that first impression is very powerful.
Poor posture sends immediate signals:
- Low self-esteem
When people see slumped shoulders, shuffling and a hunched over posture, it creates a very lackluster and depressing first impression!
Thankfully, poor posture is something that can be improved.
Those who make a positive first impression stand up straight and have good posture.
When you fidget it sends subtle and rapid signals of anxiety and low self-worth to whoever you’re meeting.
This creates a negative and weak first impression.
What makes it even trickier is that those who fidget are often unaware they are even doing so and may have grown accustomed to various fidgeting behaviors.
Fidgeting isn’t just twiddling the thumbs or flicking your fingers back and forth.
It also includes the following actions:
- Scratching your arms, head, neck, nose, or hands frequently
- Clearing your throat a lot or clearing your nose habitually
- Adjusting jewelry such as necklaces or rings frequently
- Smoothing over or adjusting clothing or accessories often
- Checking your phone frequently and texting or scrolling all the time
- Checking your watch over and over
- Cleaning or touching your ears
The antidote to fidgeting is to practice deep breathing and standing in one place without having to do anything.
Another great drill to practice is to practice not checking text and social media notifications as soon as you receive them.
Set a notification sound and then when it sounds off to show you just got something… Do nothing.
Then check it five or ten minutes later once that initial craving to look right away has passed.
In this way, you gain control over your smartphone and eliminate this very common fidgeting-adjacent behavior.
Eye contact and posture are the first two things that somebody will notice upon you coming into their frame.
If you are looking at the person you’re meeting and standing straight with a confident posture and avoiding fidgeting then you have already aced the first three parts of making a great impression.
In most cases, talking with someone will come next, although you may just be shaking hands or saying “hi” when introduced in a group setting or at a party, for example.
At the time that you do say something, even “hi,” it’s important not to mumble.
When you speak in an unclear way or mumble, this creates an impression of low self-worth and low confidence.
Additionally, mumbling can create the following impressions:
- Being disorganized
- Being confused
- Low intelligence
If you find that you do mumble quite often or have trouble with your elocution, there are many speech exercises you can try.
In general, try to say less and speak as clearly and audibly as possible.
This creates a better first audible impression in almost all situations.
How important are first impressions?
First impressions are extremely important.
They form the bedrock of somebody’s instinctive feelings towards us and have the potential to draw individuals towards us or repel them.
“The reason why first impressions are so important is that they last well beyond that moment.
“This is thanks to something called the primacy effect, which means that when someone experiences something before other things in a sequence, they remember that first thing more.”
Not everything about our first impression is in our control, especially our microexpressions and state of mind when we meet someone.
You can’t force yourself to be in a good mood the exact moment that you meet someone or to feel calm or confident.
But by at least eliminating downcast gaze, poor posture, mumbling and fidgeting, you can go great lengths toward creating superb first impressions.
First impressions in business…
First impressions in business are crucially important.
Confidence, competence, and a positive first impression can go a long way to someone wanting to work with you.
They can also contribute greatly to working through issues, compromising, negotiating, and reaching progress on obstacles that come up in your career.
If people you work with or want to work with have a positive first impression of you then they are far more likely to want to work with you and respect you in business.
First impressions in love…
First impressions make a big difference in love.
When somebody first meets you they are already subconsciously deciding whether you are a potential mate or not, even if they’re not single.
Our bodies and minds are designed to subconsciously assess reproductive potential and sexual and personality attractiveness in the first milliseconds of seeing anybody.
We are always subconsciously assessing potential mates at the primal level even if we’re not single.
For those of us who are single, our attraction or non-attraction to somebody is a very primal and black-and-white thing.
Certainly, there are those who fall somewhere in the “middle” or a kind of gray area.
But more or less, those who meet you rapidly form an impression of whether they would like to sleep with you and potentially commit to you in a very short period of time.
That’s just how nature designed us.
Avoiding common mistakes of first impressions can help greatly in increasing the chances that somebody you’re attracted to is also attracted to you.
How hard is it to change first impressions?
Changing first impressions is no easy task, but it’s certainly possible.
“While it might be more of a challenge to change how you are perceived, there are things you can do to overcome a bad first impression,” advises Kendra Cherry.
The key of changing first impressions is shifting from the subconscious and semi-conscious level to the conscious level.
The very first parts of a first impression, which are the most powerful thanks to the primacy effect mentioned by Schwartz, are mainly at the subconscious and semi-conscious level.
If you have created a bad first impression your best bet is to not take it personally and to be in it for the long haul and prove through your behavior and actions that you’re not who somebody may have felt you are.
Remember that at the end of the day, the most important impression there will ever be is your impression of yourself!
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