You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
That's because within seconds of meeting you, people will have judged your social status, your level of education, and even your potential for success.
Within just 2-3 minutes, they've also decided on your levels of intelligence, your trustworthiness and your overall degree of competence. And although these evaluations happen in an instant, their effects can last for years, or decades - even a lifetime.
Behavioral research has proven that once we‘ve made a judgment about someone, everything we see and hear from then on gets filtered through this initial impression. So it goes without saying that if you're looking to make a charismatic first impression, you had better get it right the first time.
In this article, you'll learn:
+ The Science Behind First Impressions
+ Why First Impressions Are So Powerful
+ How To Make Yourself Unforgettable To Everyone You Meet
+ How To Master the Art of Clever Compliments
The Science Behind First Impressions
Perhaps the biggest reason that first impressions have such an impact is that they're often actually right. In fact, several notable studies have confirmed that we humans have evolved to be pretty accurate in our perceptions of someone's personality - even after meeting them for only a few seconds.
These compelling findings were the basis for Malcolm Gladwell’s popular book, Blink, which summarized much of the research.
In one study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin, people were able to judge a person's personality traits - including openness, agreeableness, emotional stability, self-esteem, loneliness, and even political orientation - with 90% accuracy just by looking at a single snapshot!
That's because first impressions are generated by the fastest part of the brain, which is also the most primitive. This 'reptilian brain' may have been a key to our ancestors‘ survival in hunter-gatherer times, when we often had only a split second to determine whether shapes entering our field of vision were friend or foe.
Today, even in sophisticated business settings, we still operate on hunter-gatherer survival instincts. Many CEOs and human resource professionals will openly admit that they decide whether they‘ll hire a job applicant within the first few seconds of the interview. As one hiring manager said, 'The rest of the interview is just window dressing.'
How To Use The Power Of First Impressions To Your Advantage
The good news is that there's a simple skill that almost anyone can learn to virtually guarantee a positive first impression. And nearly 3 years of comprehensive research on the topic of charisma has lead me right back to the same technique I used over a decade ago.
Looking back on my career working in some of Chicago's busiest nightclubs, I can pretty much say that of all my trade secrets, the most powerful was also the most simple:
Between 11pm and 1am, I'd make it a nightly ritual to tour the venue and offer sincere praise to every woman in attendance.
That's right - I said every one of them.
That meant that if there were 300 women in the venue, I'd make it a point to hand out 300 unique, sincere compliments a night. Every night.
(As you can imagine, I got pretty damn good at it)
This nightly ritual not only guaranteed that the women who came to our events always left with a positive experience, it also guaranteed that they'd be back for more the following week.
Female customers are the life-blood of any nightclub's success, and it was no accident that our promotional company quickly earned a reputation for always bringing out the city's most beautiful women.
How To Make Yourself Unforgettable: The Power of Authentic Praise
According to body language expert Allan Pease, complimenting someone you meet for the first time means that they'll actually remember you as being taller, thinner and younger than you actually are! 'So forget about diets', says Pease. 'Just learn how to give compliments!'
The power of genuine appreciation is no less potent today than it was 80 years ago when Dale Carnegie wrote one of the most legendary books of all time, 'How To Win Friends and Influence People'.
Norihiro Sadato, professor at the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan adds 'Our research has shown that the same area of the brain affected in this study, the striatum, is activated when a person is rewarded a compliment or cash.'
This crazy but true statistic has been proven in numerous studies over the past decade, and yes - I still make it an automatic habit to offer sincere praise to everyone I meet. It's a virtually guaranteed means of always making an unforgettable first impression.
(For more: See My Article on the 6 Qualities of Highly Charismatic People)
How To Master the Art of Clever Compliments
The goal of any aspiring charismatic should be to leave everyone you encounter with two things: A positive impression of you, and more importantly - a positive feeling about themselves.
#Charisma is 10% how you make people feel about you, and 90% how you make them feel about themselves. - http://t.co/uTNAhPCAky
— Pete Sapper (@PeteSapper) August 31, 2014
One secret I use for giving the perfect compliment is to be sure that it's uniquely tailored to the individual. I'll do this by simply observing what it is that the recipient already wants to be complimented on.
- Did the person make it a point to show up in a custom-fit suit?
- Did they just have their hair or nails done?
- Are they wearing accessories that perfectly compliment their attire?
HELLO ... These little nuances are hardly an accident!
Humans beings are hard-wired to appreciate people who notice and appreciate them. So tell people what they did right. Then tell them why you appreciate them for it.