Whether it’s a job interview, first date, or company gathering, first impressions can make or break future interactions and relations. While social graces may come naturally to some people, others struggle with what to say and how to act when connecting with new people.
In his critically-acclaimed book, Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell states that, according to various studies, our first impressions are fairly accurate and stand the test of time. He coined the theory “thin-slicing”, which states that we make a pretty accurate assessment of a person based on knowing them for only a few seconds.
“It is a central part of what it means to be human,” Gladwell writes. “We thin-slice whenever we meet a new person or have to make sense of something quickly or encounter a novel situation. We thin-slice because we have to, and we come to rely on that ability because there are lots of situations where careful attention to the details of a very thin slice, even for no more than a second or two, can tell us an awful lot.”
Christina DesMarais, contributor at Inc.com, spoke with numerous executives who provided 10 tips on how to make a lasting first impression. Here are the top 5:
- Be comfortable in your own skin first. If you are comfortable in your own skin when meeting someone for the first time, you will exude a confidence and be remembered for this positive trait.
- Try to inspire. Aim to teach the person you are speaking with a new lesson. People will be more likely to remember you if you have showed them a new perspective on life.
- Be sincere and authentic. Make a point to hold eye contact, and be energetic and genuine every time you enter an interview, conversation or meeting. In a world where people seem to be constantly distracted, taking the time to absorb what the other person is saying, and then provide appropriate feedback, will go a long way.
- Be vulnerable. Don’t get so hung up on being confident that you end up seeming closed off. If you want to form a meaningful connection with someone, be vulnerable, honest, and open.
- Be the best possible listener. Always be polite and courteous when someone else is speaking, whether it’s a co-worker, client, employer, or employee. Listening and respecting other team member’s points of view is the best way to create a positive team culture and a productive business.
DesMarais’ interviewees also told readers, don’t be afraid to fail, always be sure to smile, focus on the other person, be prepared, and find a common interest.
iConnectEngineers™ provides Leadership Development services, to help employers and employees gain confidence and skills inside and outside the workplace.
To learn how we can help you make a lasting first impression by using these skills, visit www.iconnectengineers.com/leadership-development/.
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