“Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression – with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.” Natalie Massenet
The saying about never getting a second chance at making a first impression is old and tired precisely because it’s so true.
Researching some now examples for our assertiveness training courses I found some fascinating research into how we can improve the first impression that we make, and ensure that we come across as relaxed, confident and trustworthy.
- Put Your Mobile Phone Away
Your mind affects your body and your body also affects your mind. Amy Cundy’s research into power poses is becoming increasingly well known.
It showed that taking up a confident body posture will actually increase your testosterone (confidence hormone) and decrease your cortisol (stress hormone), making you more confident.
So you can improve your confidence simply by consciously changing your body posture. This cut both ways however.
When waiting for someone to arrive at a meeting most of us will check our phone. This is a terrible idea.
Firstly, it means you’ll need to mentally switch gears when the other person arrives which can take a second or tow. It also makes you hunch over with your shoulders’ forward which is a very ‘low power’ pose.
So at just the moment we want to be feeling at our most confident and focused we do something that has exactly the opposite effect.
- Get The Temperature Right
Temperature has a strong affect on our mental state. From an early age we are wired to associate warmth with trust.
If people associate you with warmth they will also be much more likely to think that you are a warm person and so trust you.
So, if you suffer from cold hands in the winter think about ways that you can warm them up before a meeting. Holding a coffee is a very effective way to deal with this, as is using the warm water and hand dryer in the rest rooms before a meeting.
Also, if you’re offered a warm drink it would be wise to take it, especially if it is a cold day. The hot drink will improve your mood by making you feel ‘warmer’ and more friendly and so improve how you come across.
Another benefit is that accepting a hot drink might also encourage the person your meeting to have a hot drink and improve their mood too.
- Wear Perfume (Even For Video Conferences!)
This scientific study showed that women shown videos of men wearing a scent rated the men as more confident and attractive when they were wearing a scent.
So the scent had a meaningful impact through it’s effect on the wearer’s behaviour. Other research has found the same effect in women.
Be sure to wear perfume to your next interview / meeting, it doesn’t matter if the other person can smell it or not. Wearing it will boost your confidence and have a noticeable impact on the impression you make.