Advice

First impressions count: How just ‘one hundredth of one second’ can change everything

Scientists have worked out that it takes one hundredth of one second for each of us to form that all important first impression. Whether it’s a job interview or first date — follow these simple steps to make sure you make the best impression possible.

We know that in only a fraction of a second after meeting, people make initial judgments about others. But what exactly is it that people connect with in others? Although material possessions can play a part, our instincts determine believability, trust etc. in ways used by our ancestors long before bespoke suits, designer watches, expensive cars, luxury handbags, or even boob jobs, cosmetics, face-lifts, or liposuction ever came along.

Here are some simple steps to make sure you make better first impressions.

Face off

Our faces say so much about us: What we’re thinking, what we’re about to say, and even the type of life we’ve led (those laugh lines speak volumes!). Sometimes, our faces tell others, things we wish they wouldn’t. That’s because not everyone knows how to present their face in the best light.

So, take a moment to look at yourself in the mirror. What does your face say about you?

When it comes to getting a job, being too trendy is not often the best way. That makeup style might be great on Facebook, but in an interview for a management role?

The eyes have it

Pay particular attention to what your eyes say about you. Although people look at faces to determine friend or foe, they look even more closely at the eyes. Women especially, find the eyes to be one of the most visually communicative aspects of another person.

So, if eyes are so important, why do some people cover theirs up with sunglasses and tinted lenses? That might be forgivable in strong direct sunlight, but in a job interview?  Puh-lease!

The hard fact is that humans, through hardwiring, look for eyes everywhere: Even where they don’t exist! That’s why we tend to “see” them in clouds, trees, woods, etc. When others look at us, they want to see our eyes. When we want to communicate effectively, we do so in person where we can show our eyes.

So make your eyes look their best. It goes without saying that bloodshot eyes either from too little sleep or too good a night out are a no-no too.

Its all in the smile

One of the most powerful nonverbal communication tools humans possess is their smile. And as research has shown, we have developed an advanced means of detecting what type of smile we’re looking at. So, when you first meet a potential employer, putting on an affected or staged smile to mask your fear or anxiety, will be a dead giveaway. Alternatively, if you exhibit a genuine smile, the interviewer will know that, as well, and feel as if they’re really connecting with you.

Most of us have a lot to learn when it comes to looking our best to others. Understanding that can offer you a very powerful advantage. Spend a little time and effort identifying and creating the ideal look for trust, dominance, or whatever message you want to put across to a potential employer. You’ll gain a distinct advantage over other candidates with whom you may be competing.

This post was originally published on Your Coffee Break.

Your Coffee Break is an online lifestyle magazine for the professional woman, delivering content on the latest in fashion, beauty, career management, celebrity news, lifestyle and travel.

Phillip Adcock is a commercial psychologist and author of Master Your Brain: Training your Mind for Success in Life. Available now on Amazon.