Whether you like it or not, people decide how they feel about you in the first two seconds of seeing you, or hearing you, if it’s on the phone. If they like you, they will unconsciously tend to see the best in you and look for opportunities to say “yes.” If they don’t like you, the opposite is true.
The first thing someone notices about you is the quality and the level of energy you give out. That means your attitude (including your posture). The second thing they respond to is your clothes. In fact, the impact is made so quickly it’s as if they see both things at the same time, and then form their first impressions about you. Your attitude tells people if you are open or closed, charming or alarming. Your posture is an indication of your overall health: humans are hard-wired to seek out healthy mates. Your clothing speaks volumes. It tells people what kind of person you see yourself as. It also can reveal a lot about your socioeconomic status, whether you’re conventional or flamboyant, sexy or modest, trendy or traditional. Take a good hard look at your wardrobe and see if it makes the statement you want.
Here are four concrete steps to help create a terrific first impression:
• First, adjust your attitude. More than anything else it’s your attitude that determines how people feel about you when you first meet. Choose what I call a “useful” attitude – upbeat, welcoming, enthusiastic, etc.
• Second, be charming rather than alarming. That means making eye contact, if only for a couple of seconds – this unconsciously signals that trust is in the air. Just notice the person’s eye color – that’ll do it.
• Third, smile with genuine enjoyment. (Here’s a way to do that. Practice saying the word “great” over and over in a mirror using crazy voices until you feel like a giant idiot or you crack up – then say it under your breath to yourself as you approach people. I guarantee you’ll be smiling.) A smile sends a signal that you’re happy and confident.
• Fourth, keep your body language open and relaxed. Rather than crossing your arms over your chest, go literally “heart to heart” with the other person – point your heart toward theirs, which signals that you’re not going to harm them.
Here are five ways to score you big points when you walk into a room full of strangers.
1. Wear great clothes. More people will take you seriously (don’t over do it – don’t be better than anyone else).
2. Head for the middle. (Popular people always go to the middle of the room in restaurants, parties classrooms etc.) There’s nothing that demonstrates confidence the way this does. Ever wonder why the people that sit around the edges are called wall-flowers?
3. Move more slowly than usual. People who move fractionally more slowly than others tend to get noticed and come across as sexy. Get into the habit so it becomes natural: otherwise don’t bother.
4. 3-second rule. In a social situation, notice someone and within three seconds go over and say something (ask directions, or introduce yourself, or ask a question). Do this several times.
5. Ask “Talk-Show” questions. The best way to start a conversation is with a statement followed by an open question. “I hear Seattle’s a fantastic place. If I only had three hours, what should I see?” Remember to give feedback.
Your irresistible first impression is instantly determined by your attitude, your poise and your wardrobe. Enhancing and focusing on these important aspects of your image will do more than boost your chances in the love market, it’ll also boost the way you feel about yourself. When we feel good about ourselves it affects everything. We make better decisions, feel more adventurous, have more energy, and tap into our natural enthusiasm, all of which impacts the nonverbal signals we send out to others. Being on top of our game means others will want to join in and play.