Positive first impressions can link you to all kinds of crazy-good friendships and securities, so the more of them you can make, the better your odds often are for achieving personal and business goals. On the contrary, a negative first impression can obviously be much more damaging. Have no fear, science can offer you a helping hand and make your success much more predictable.
1. Get in touch with your body language
Experts acknowledge that body language accounts for the majority of communication, perhaps up to 90% or more. In psychology studies, most people translate behavior such as crossing the arms or legs, furrowing the brow or raising the eyebrows as signs of being closed off, anxious or uncomfortable. Instead, stand or sit tall (typically translated as confidence), lean in a bit (usually interpreted as interest) and avoid fidgeting (often seen as being in a hurry or preoccupied).
2. Gesture with purpose
Research suggests that certain gestures can embody specific concepts, and that moving in a natural, fluid way can trigger multiple domains of creativity. In other words, allowing yourself to be reasonably animated not only can help you think on your feet, but also can make it easier for someone to understand what you're trying to get across. You'll come across as a more likeable, innovative insider as a result.
3. Flash a genuine, crinkles-around-the-eyes smile
Mirror neurons are brain cells that respond both when you perform an action and when you witness someone else perform that action. The more you smile, the more your counterpart's mirror neurons will trigger them to smile. The act of smiling helps you both release oxytocin, the so called "cuddle" hormone associated with feelings of calm, trust and closeness.
4. Control your tone of voice
People make flash judgments about you from the very first word you utter. This phenomenon has an evolutionary basis: The ability to make a rapid-fire assessment about someone else can serve to protect you from danger. To appear friendly and trustworthy, if you're a guy, keep your voice slightly higher in pitch, as people associate lower tones with more dominance and aggression. If you're a gal, let your voice fall at the end of your words or phrases, as individuals associate this tendency with confidence.
Paying attention to basic elements, such as posture and gestures, goes a long way in connecting you well with others. Practice modifying how you move and look before your meetings to up the chances you hit it off and make that first impression count.
Thanks again, science.