Your initial impression of some is based on instinct. If an initial interaction with someone doesn’t match what fits the expectations of your subconscious mind, the primitive response kicks in and shuts down other messages being received. As a result, further communication is rendered useless.
There is truth in the old adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The first contact can make or break the opportunity to build trust and to develop a relationship. Research shows that people’s initial perception of you can be broken down as following: 55% the look of your face and body, 38% your voice and just 7% the content spoken. This may be very surprising but we cannot argue with the results of various research on the matter.
Let’s now look at how you can do to improve what you have control over in your engagement with people to give you the opportunity to make a good impression and become more likeable.
Obviously, you have no control over the face that nature gave you, although many people go to the extreme with plastic surgery to enhance what nature provided. You may now be aware why cosmetics is the huge industry that it is today.
Ensure that you have a welcoming, relaxed expression, lash on the smile and keep eye contact with the person. This can go a long way to counteract what you may lack in the beauty department.
Your dress sense is important, make sure your attire is in line with those with whom you want to make a good impression. Your body language can help you bond with others. Make sure your body is open, that your arms are not defensively folded or that your gestures are not aggressive or erratic. Make sure that you are well-groomed to fit in with expectations. Of course, your weight is also a factor.
Be aware of your aroma, billions are made on perfume and aftershave to cater for this need. Both men and woman can be guilty of not paying enough attention to this important aspect of their presentation.
Don’t enter other people’s personal space. We all know of people who want to stand as close as one foot from your face where you have to step back. An arm’s length is about right, This allows for physical contact where you appropriately can touch the person’s shoulder or arm during a conversation.
You have a God-given voice but you can work to improve it. Be aware of the tone, speed, volume and the emotional expression of your voice. Do try and model the voice features of people who impress you.
♦ Use the person’s name, a great way of creating a better bond
♦ Listen carefully to what the person is saying, show this by paraphrasing and follow on questions.
♦ Ask questions, people love to talk about themselves.
♦ Relate open-heartedly, don’t be closed off, tightly bottled up as if they are a threat.
♦ Be happy for the other person’s success. Don’t pass it off and change the subject.
♦ Be cheerful and humorous, don’t take yourself too seriously.
♦ Be empathetic, show that you have some idea of what it is like to walk in their shoes.
♦ Compliment them as appropriate, you can win hearts with compliments.
♦ Don’t be critical of others, you are just showing yourself in a bad light as a critical person.
♦ Ensure that your comments show that you have integrity and that you are trustworthy.