Ideas for Making a Lasting Impression in Less than 5 minutes
Research shows people form opinions about us within seconds of contact. A New York University, Graduate School of Business, study showed that within the initial seven seconds of introductions, people make 11 decisions: “(1) education level, (2) economic level, (3) perceived credibility and believability, (4) trustworthiness, (5) level of sophistication, (6) sexual identification, (7) level of success, (8) political background, (9) religious background, (10) ethnic background, (11) social and professional desirability.”
That’s a real eye opener! However, don’t panic because, keeping within the 5 minutes to make a great impression, you still have 4 minutes and 53 seconds to change their minds! You are the one who gives credibility to what a person thinks. Whether you’re networking, interviewing for a new job or are in a social setting, the following tips can help you leave a positive lasting impression:
1. Make eye contact and smile. Good eye contact is an indication that you are interested and engaged in what the other person is saying. Research shows that maintaining eye contact about 60% of the time is a good idea. A warm authentic smile makes the best first impression. Ensure that it’s a full lip-to-cheek-to-eye smile. A smirk can make you appear to be unreal.
2. Project positive body language. For example, poor posture can be perceived as low self-confidence and self-esteem. Using your dominant hand, give a warm firm handshake.
3. Say their name. Most everyone responds positively to hearing their name being called. Remembering and saying their name helps you establish a connection. That along with the proper amount of eye contact and a firm handshake, makes a positive initial impression.
4. Attentively listen. Most people go full speed into their small talk or sales speech. However, by listening and letting another person talk you’ll be more impressive. Another way to leave a great impression is by asking questions that require meaningful answers.
5. Ask what you can do to help. Get a sense of the other person’s needs, and then immediately think of ways to help that person. Doing so instantly portrays you as a giver not a taker.