You’ve Got 7 Seconds to Make a First Impression

A few of us attended the IABC Houston luncheon last Thursday and it was great! The speaker was Carol Kinsey Goman, the author of The Nonverbal Advantage and President of Kinsey Consulting Services. Carol has been dubbed a “Change Mangement Specialist” and focuses on how executives can ignite their work force during times of change or dispel fears through times of turmoil using non-verbal communication.

I took a lot from Carol’s presentation; she gave a lot of great tips on using non-verbal cues to your advantage in business situations. One of the most important things she talked can be carried over into your everyday life. Granted, this is a lesson we’ve all heard 100’s of time but It is nice to hear it again every once in a while.

First impressions are important; Carol gave some tangible tips on making them great:

  1. Attitude: Choose the attitude you are going to bring when you meet someone new and BRING IT. Leave negative emotions and feelings at the door when meeting someone new, because through your non-verbal cues, the person you are meeting will sense your bad attitude.
  2. Eyebrow Flash: Your eyebrows unconsciously go up for a flash of a second when you encounter someone you like or know. When you meet someone new, give them an eyebrow flash! People subconsciously like people with big, innocent eyes and when your eyebrows go up, your eyes automatically get bigger.
  3. Eye Contact: This one is pretty simple. When meeting someone for the first time, look them in the eye long enough to register their eye color.
  4. Smile: When someone smiles at you, the reward center in your brain (your orbital cortex) automatically “lights up;” this is why it is so important to smile when you first meet someone.
  5. Lean In Slightly: Like the eyebrow flash, we subconsciously lean towards things we like. So lean in a little bit when you meet someone! It shows you’re interested and engaged.
  6. Shake Hands: This is the most important tip of all! According to Carol, we live in an essentially touch-free society, that is why we need to optimize on this initial touch. Palm to Palm, Web to Web!

For more tips from Carol, check out her blog, Speaking of Change!