“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” “Never judge a book by its cover” (but we do!). These old adages stand the test of time.We all can agree to this from our own personal experiences and from many proven scientific experiments. In the world of psychology, a first impression is defined as “the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person”. As soon as we see someone (or something), an impression is formed quickly. In fact, a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov, reveal that it takes just one tenth of a second to form an impression of an unfamiliar face. Their research is presented in an article entitled “First Impressions” in the July 2006 issue of Psychological Science.
Subconsciously, our minds judge others not based on personalities but on image and body language. Things that are not perceived of value when learning about a person.As soon as we see someone or something, an impression is formed quickly and, unfortunately, what we see overshadows what we may already know. First impressions are more powerful than fact, as we always go with our gut first. First impressions are fast, dynamic and difficult to erase, which is why we must be aware of ourselves to make a favorable first one.
I listed 5 items that help get us the positive first impression we all want. The goal is to move past that one-tenth of a second to gain interest, respect and a second look! Read on..
Shoes – Shoes show a lot about our personality and overall style.Obviously if shoes have holes or look ratty, we automatically believe that person doesn’t care about appearance at all. Shoes can tell a lot about your attitude and mood. Color and style can also tell a lot about a person,for example your style, personality and even your profession! When making a first impression, try something simple and classic rather than trying out a trendy look for the first time. When wearing open toed shoes, a pedicure and a fresh color on your toes is always a good idea! If you don’t usually wear high heels, do not and I repeat, do not test them out on a first encounter, trust me from my own experience, you will not have a good time!
Makeup/Hair – “When you don’t look good, you don’t feel good.” Wearing the right amount of makeup is crucial here. A study called “Cosmetics as a Feature of the Extended Human Phenotype” concluded that women wearing makeup were perceived to be more likable and trustworthy than a woman without makeup. Try natural tones or follow your usual makeup routine. This is not the time to test out that trendy bright blue eyeshadow! Of course we know that too much is never a good look, unless it’s Halloween! Keep your hair and make-up looking natural as not to scare off a new friend, boss, or boyfriend!
Body language/Facial expressions –
Your posture can non-verbally convey your status and power. Slouched over with your head down sends a message that you lack confidence in yourself and immediately signals a negative impression. Standing tall with your shoulders back and head straight gives off a vibe that you’re in control of yourself. You know your worth and can easily conquer any situation – that’s the message! Be aware of your facial expressions too. At times we can’t control our eyes and yes, I am guilty of this! My husband will ask why I just rolled my eyes and I didn’t even realize that I did. Try your best! And look a person in the eye when speaking – show interest and they will always remember you. It works!
Clothing/Accessories – We know it’s important to dress the part or the occasion. When going on a job interview, we wear a classic, tailored outfit. It’s not about the label but rather how well it fits! Going on a first date? It’s important to wear an outfit that’s more about you and shows your personality. Don’t wear something just to impress him like a low-cut dress showing way too much cleavage when you never dress that way. You may give off the wrong vibe or if you see him again, he may expect you will always dress that way – and it’s not even who you are! Simple and classic is the way to go. And if you don’t usually wear big pieces of jewelry, a first date is not the time to start. Even when socially meeting a prospective group of new women, wear what you would normally wear. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, it may backfire on you!
Smile/Teeth – According to a survey conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, first positive impressions all come down to the power of an attractive smile. Keeping up with healthy oral hygiene not only helps to keep you looking good, but to stay healthy too. The survey also revealed that some Americans view people differently with crooked or stained teeth. According to 37 percent of respondents, this makes people less attractive. In fact, 25 percent of survey participants indicated people were viewed as less confident than people with “perfect” teeth. A good smile is contagious and can make others around you feel more positive and relaxed. Tip: Don’t wear bright red lipstick if you don’t have white teeth. The red will draw so much attention to your mouth. A great smile goes a long way!
So what happens when we screw up? We ruined it, we were caught off guard. We were nervous and didn’t present ourselves properly. Can we ever change that first impression gone wrong? Well good news! According to a Harvard University study (www.https://hbr.org/2015/01/.hbs.org ), “A Second Chance to Make the Right Impression “, it takes eight subsequent positive encounters to try to get that person’s negative opinion of you expunged. So if you are even lucky enough to get a second chance encounter, keep in mind that most of these tips will help. But remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression!
I’ll be writing more extensive blogs on each of the items above. It’s amazing to me the amount of interesting studies and research related to how we’re perceived – simply by a shoe style or the makeup we wear. Do you have any other tips on how to make a good first impression? Please share them below, I’d love to hear from you!