They take seconds to make, and are a combination of our nonverbals- everything we communicate about ourselves through what we wear, how we interact with our environment and our body-language.
The feedback I give in coaching is based on research (not just personal opinion). The main theme is: What kind of impression do you give, and do you want to give that impression?
Giving a good first impression
In their book ‘First Impressions; What You Don’t Know About How Other See You‘, Anne Demaris and Valerie White sum up a good first impression:
‘A good first impression is one that reflects the real you. If you are presenting the best of yourself, the self you want to share, then you are making the impression that is right for you.”
First impression hack
The effects of these hacks are only temporary and only statistically significant (read, ‘not foolproof, or 100% consistent’)
For the brave or foolish, read on:
Hand someone a warm drink
Researchers have found when they handed a person a warm drink, they rated a fictional character as being warmer. You can read more about the study here. This finding is interesting for two reasons:
- How we may be influenced by our physical environment
- How that is reflected in our language
We talk about a person as being ‘warm’ or ‘cold’. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. One is that it indicates how we perceive the world and our emotional response. The second reason this is interesting is because we may be provoking this response in others when we use this language. This is a very new area of study, which already has findings on how the words ‘lick’, ‘kick’ and ‘pick’ light up the movement centre in our brains, not just the language centre. In other words, we have a physical response to hearing these words. (I wrote a post about this research, you can check it out here)
Simple hack #2; make ’em feel good
This one is simple in theory, but might be more of a challenge in practise.
Try directing your conversation partner to a positive emotional state.
Their positive emotional state will then be associated with you…
The reasons this is a challenge is that:
- If you’re determined to stay positive when your conversation partner is not, that would indicate that you are emotionally insensitive.
- We’re not talking about any creepy NLP/evoke a mildly hypnotic state in someone only so they will walk away feeling the ‘ickyness of manipulation’
- It can be a big challenge, and a very rewarding one, to find out what makes someone light up with interest.
For more tips on first impressions, check out this in-depth post on how to assess your own first impressions. The Secrets of First Impressions