A man named Roger Ailes, a media strategist, famously said, "You have just 7 seconds to make a good first impression." And he was pretty much right. Our primitive ancestors needed to be able to size up a situation quickly and decide if they were faced with a friend or a foe. And we do the same thing today.
According to Yale University psychology professor Marianne LaFrance, 90% of a first impression is based on appearance, posture, facial expressions, and tone of voice. So here’s how to put your best foot forward.
First, know this, when you meet someone new, your hair style will get noticed more than your facial features. Long hair says, "My looks are important to me". Short hair says, "I’m confident and successful". And shoulder length hair says, "I’m intelligent and level-headed".
Next, your handshake matters. The Yale study found that people who make eye contact while offering a handshake that’s firm, dry, and vigorous – as opposed to clammy, limp, and wimpy – not only makes a better impression, but makes people believe you possess the qualities associated with your grip. Also, here’s something just for women.
Your instincts about other women are more accurate than your instincts about men. Why? Because women are programmed to want to make a connection with a man, so your opinions aren’t as harsh. Chemistry throws off your radar.
Now, what about charm versus cheekbones, which goes further? A good looking face or a charismatic presence? Charisma wins over beauty. If you seem confident, open to new experiences, and interested in others, you’ll get better marks than the good looking guy next to you.
But here’s the one thing you need to remember – a first impression is less about you, and more about making the person you meet feel good.
Want to go further? Check out the book "First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You".