Making the most of first impressions

By Amber DeFabio, Marketing on June 30, 2017

We judge as soon as we see

The Harvard Study of Communications stated that it takes just seven seconds to make a first impression on another human being. Just seven seconds. These first impressions, which can be based upon anything from the shoes you are wearing to the tone of your voice, are hard to change once made.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist from Harvard Business School has conducted extensive research about how we evaluate the people we meet, and has concluded that the traditional strong handshake and assertive greeting may not make the very best impression. The research, instead, suggests that most people respond more positively to those who come across as trustworthy rather than those who exude confidence.

Everyone judges, including your prospective clients, and they will form an impression about you instantly. Pay careful attention to the way you spend those first few seconds.

Use the following findings from the Harvard Study of Communications and Amy Cuddy to rethink the way you make your future first impressions:

  • Only 7% of people form their first impressions of you based on the words you say.
  • 55% of a first impression is visual: how you look, how you stand, how you dress or whether or not you make eye contact.
  • Two-fold impressions, which typically answer the questions ‘What is this person’s intention’ and ‘how strong are they’ hold true across all cultures and account for 80-90% of an overall first impression.
  • Attempting to be the more dominant one in a conversation could make it harder for the other person to trust you, and may shut them down completely. A natural interaction and a focus on establishing trust will beget trust and will allow others to open up to you.
  • Establish trust by allowing the other person to speak first, opening with a question, helping the other person to feel understood and collecting information about their interests and needs.

Curious about what first impressions you give off? Ask an honest colleague. Use their feedback to tailor future initial interactions.

What tactic gives you the best first impression? Is there something that turns you off immediately? Fill us in below! Like our blog? Don't forget to subscribe!


Amber DeFabio, Marketing

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