You may have heard that you’ve got 7 seconds to make a first impression? You might also have heard that 55% of the initial impression you make is based on appearance and body language? That means how you look, how you’re dressed, and how you present yourself. And did you know that your smile is one of the top things that men and women notice when they’re meeting a new partner for the first time?
We are being judged every time that we meet somebody new – whether the other person knows they are judging us or not! That’s all down to a pre-programmed psychological response called “Cognitive Bias” which our cavemen ancestors would have used to assess whether any new people they met were friend or foe, and we’ve inherited it. People make snap judgements based on their own past experiences, and react accordingly.
We’re coming into contact with new people all the time, and often it doesn’t really matter what kind of impression that the other person has of us – but sometimes it matters very much!
You might be going for an interview for a new job, pitching to a new client, or meeting a first date. In these situations you want to give yourself the very best opportunity to create a rapport that will get you the job, win you the business, or get you onto the second date. And the easiest ways to do that are to have a warm, genuine smile on your face when you meet, walk confidently, and to make eye contact. (It goes without saying you have to be wearing clothes that are appropriate for you and the occasion too though! :-D)
Generally, if you make a good impression on somebody their cognitive bias will be looking for ways in which you are similar to them – the caveman instinct to identify if you could be part of their tribe. If you don’t, they will look for ways in which you are different. This is often completely subconscious, even in situations where scoring mechanisms have been put in place to create objectivity (like behavioural interviews or supplier evaluation panels), but it will be affecting their decision about whether you’re right for them or not. So now you see why that first impression is so important?
It’s possible that you may have felt awkward about smiling and showing your teeth before you started orthodontic treatment but hopefully that will be a thing of the past when your braces are removed. The other bits take a little more practice if you’re not doing them already, but they’re very achievable.
There’s a marvellous video by Amy Cuddy on how “Your body language shapes who you are” available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are/transcript Watch it and start practising your power poses!
Gillian Lewis is an Executive Coach and Colour Me Beautiful trained Image Consultant. She specialises in coaching confidence to create an Inner and Outer Makeover that will transform your life. She has a special offer for Cleveland Orthodontics clients available at www.gillianlewisspectrum.co.uk/co
Telephone: 07973 986691