Most of us at some point in our lives have had an interview experience where we just didn’t connect with the other person, we can’t quite articulate why but the meeting didn’t ‘gel’ as well as we had hoped.
There are so many variables as to whether a meeting goes well or badly that you can’t possibly plan for them all but some research says its takes six 2nd impressions to change a first impression, so it pays in the long run to get it right the first time.
According to Princeton psychologist Alexander Todorov, all we need is between 1-3 seconds of exposure to someone's face for our brain to form an impression of them. That is roughly enough time to say ‘hello’. In that time I have decided; Are you confident? Do you have authority? Are you trustworthy, competent, likeable? Am I attracted to you? Your brain simply draws conclusions based on similar impressions and experiences from your past that means your first impression is not always accurate and notoriously prone to error. But we just can't stop ourselves from making these judgements so they become an important part of life to master.
There are some obvious tips that we all know: dress the part, go easy on the perfume and make up, make eye contact, plan your travel and arrive on time, calmly. Here are a few others to consider that have had research to support their claim.
Lowndes, author of ‘How to talk to anyone’ suggests avoiding the immediate smile, but rather pausing, making the connection and then smile to follow, really acknowledging the individual. This appears more genuine and in the moment.
Tone of voice….
According to the Journal of Psychological Science, when it comes to first impressions on intelligence, looks don’t matter; your voice does. People associate a high pitched tone with nervousness or childishness. You want to do the opposite; deliberately lower your vocal pitch. This projects both confidence and maturity.
A trusted connection…
According to a recent study at New York University, bringing up shared social connections is probably one of the best ways to establish trust, and get the ‘must be ok’ seal of approval quickly.
Ask for a favour…
Known as the Ben Franklin effect, research indicates that if you do a small favour for someone, you tend to like that person more as a result. Apparently, we justify our actions to ourselves by assuming that we did the favour because we like them. You decide.
Nothing worse that someone’s seeming disinterested. Allow yourself to be fully present with that person. Let the outcome be irrelevant, and calm the self-talk and just be with them.
Now, time to go practice.