You only get one chance to make a first impression.
This a statement that you’ve probably heard before – and rightfully so – because it is absolutely true.
First impressions – whether you’re making them or someone is forming their first impression of you – are usually made within the first seven to 30 seconds of meeting someone. That is not much time for someone to form a judgement of you – is it? Well, actually, it is. If you’ve ever read “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell or studied communications, you’d realize that a person’s first impression is usually correct.
I spent four years of college studying the ins and outs of communication styles, and I decided to specialize in non-verbal communication. Nonverbal is the type of communication that leads to a person’s first impression. And, nonverbal communication is extremely wide-ranging and can be things out of your control like your body type, facial structure and vocal pitch. And it can also be things in which you can control, like your clothing style, your hair color, how you wear your hair and the accessories you put in your hair.
Nonverbal communication controls many things – like how you are perceived by others.
There are three body language techniques that you can employ to make a killer first impression. So, my goal for is to walk away from this post and be able to create great first impressions with anyone you come into contact with.
You can use these three body language queues whenever you’d like. I prefer to use them as a mental checklist when I’m nervous and really want to make sure I create a great first impression – like when meeting a significant other’s friends, parents or a new boss.
The first body language technique to making a great first impression is to commit with eye contact.
Good eye contact is always important, but it is most important when first meeting someone. It shows you’re focusing on the person and are genuinely interested in meeting them. Many party hosts, event goers and people make a huge mistake by not making eye contact because they’re interested in what’s next – are easily distracted or for some other odd reason. – but, how to you think that makes the person whose hand that they’re shaking feel? Not good.
Look them in the eye.
The second technique to employ is to mimic their body language.
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery isn’t it? People like people that are “like” them. They like people who have common beliefs, goals, work positions, like the same television shows, music or movies. Unfortunately, these types of commonalities won’t be uncovered until the conversation starts.
How can you build commonalities by just using your body? Mimic them.
Mimic the person’s stance, posture and vocal patterns. If they’re standing tall, then stand tall. If they have their hands in their pocket, place your hands in your pocket. If their hands are on their hips, place your hands on your hips. If their talking slowly – then talk slowly. By being similar to them – it subconsciously makes you more likeable.
The third body language technique to employ is simply – to smile.
What does a smile convey? It conveys happiness, confidence, enthusiasm, charm and that you’re agreeable. People like to be around happy and agreeable people. So smile when you shake someone’s hand – it’s worth it.
Next time you find yourself at a networking event or about to meet an important friend or parent of a significant other, perform a mental checklist with these three items – eye contact, mimic their body language and smile – and you’ll be sure to create a killer first impression.