You have on average about 7 seconds to make a first impression, and sadly, there are no do-overs. In those 7 seconds, before you have uttered a single word, on average 93% of their impression of you is based on your body language and personal appearance. This leaves only a mere 7% for the words you choose to actually come out of your mouth. The reality is that people do really judge a book by its cover, so you had better have your cover ready so that when you share your words, they are embraced as part of a powerful package leaving a lasting impression.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have uttered the phrase “you look like you slept in those” in my house of three teenage boys. For a while it’s was an all too familiar scene to see one of them march back up the stairs to grab the wrinkle spray or pop out the archaic iron to give their shirt a quick spruce. Now, before you start chanting the word “nag” in your head in my regard, realize that I am raising future men who will need jobs and raise families. I can’t wait until they are twenty-five to teach them that at a job interview they have just 7 seconds to make a first impression that is 93% based on their appearance. If you are twenty-five and just now receiving this news bulletin, time to step it up! Here are a few simple steps in making a stellar non-verbal first impression:
• Groom, Groom, and Groom
No, this is not implying that you are “the” Groom. The first thing folk’s notice is your face and hair. Whatever your hairstyle might be, the tossed about Pigpen look has to go. Bottom line, present a clean washed face and a neat look for a fabulous first impression.
• Make the First Move a Firm Handshake
When you meet someone for the first time your first move should be an extension of your hand for a handshake. A firm handshake speaks volumes over a wimpy waffle of a shake, and it can be the beginning or the end of the relationship.
• Pay Attention to Your Body Language
There is just something to be said about making and maintaining eye contact that comes across not only respectable, but that you are paying attention and on top of things. Smile when you do chat and lean in towards the person a bit as you engage in conversation.
• Shine the Shoes
The reality is that no one really shines their shoes these days, however, folks look from your head to your toes, and if your shoes are a mess it gives off the impression that you might be too. Tidy kept shoes non-verbally inform the other person that you can and will pay attention to details.