First impressions have always been regarded as incredibly important, especially when it comes to the future of your career. Making a great first impression can land you a job or a client or a new network contact. But did you know that, within seconds of meeting you, people have already “figured out” six important traits that could make or break your career? It’s true. Thanks to “thin slicing”, or the tendency to look for patterns to help us recognize and understand new things, humans naturally make assumptions about people within seconds. Want to learn how to make the best first impression you can? It all relies on these 6 factors.
1. Status: If you’re wearing name brand or designer clothing, people will automatically assume you’re high status. This could work to your advantage if you’re trying to look successful when meeting clients, but it could potentially work to your disadvantage if you’re interviewing for a job because interviewers may assume that you’ll be a very expensive hire.
2. Trustworthiness: Making eye contact and having a firm handshake are just a few ways to prove, within seconds, that you’re a trustworthy person. Because trustworthiness is one of those snap-assumptions that people make about you within seconds of meeting you, making sure you establish eye contact and don’t look shady will help you in any first impression scenario.
3. Intelligence: Yes, it’s true, people assume that someone wearing glasses is a smart person. Additionally, maintaining great eye contact and speaking expressively can help cement your status as a “smart person” when someone is first meeting you. If a hiring manager, client, or network connection perceives you as smart they’re also more likely to trust your opinions when the time comes.
4. Dominance: This one is not as easy to control. Although strong, tall posture can exude an air of dominance, so can having a bald head. That’s right, most people perceive men with shaved heads as more dominant than people with full heads of hair. Instead of reaching for the clippers, try making sure your posture is straight and tall or wear a splash of red if you want to appear dominant.
5. Adventurous: Do you have a long, loose gait or are your movements more short and sudden when you walk? The former will make people think that you’re extroverted and adventurous, while the latter is seen as introverted or neurotic. Loosen up your walk if you want to appear like an adventurous person!
6. Success: First impressions often determine your career success but did you know that people assume you’re either successful or unsuccessful within seconds of meeting you? It all has to do with how well your clothes fit! That’s right, people who wear tailored clothes appear more successful during a first impression than those in ill-fitting outfits.
People assume that you’re successful, adventurous, dominant, intelligent, trustworthy, and high status within seconds if you know which clothes to wear and what body language to use. If you want to make the best first impression you can, use this list to help you master the first few seconds, which is arguably the most important part of any first impression.