First Impression:

Most people will judge you within the first second of meeting you and their opinion will most likely never change. Making a good first impression is incredibly important, because you only get one shot at it.

Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov and co-author Janine Willis, a student researcher who graduated from Princeton in 2005 had people look at a microsecond of video of a political candidate. Amazingly, research subjects could predict with 70-percent accuracy who would win the election just from that microsecond of tape. This tells us that people can make incredibly accurate snap judgments in a tenth of a second.

How can you ensure people are judging you accurately and also seeing your best side? You never want to give people an inauthentic impression — many people can intuitively feel if someone is being fake immediately.

Ever felt that people are a bit quick to judge? That's because we are. Research shows we make up our minds about someone in a matter of seconds – and what's more, we're surprisingly good at it. Rosie Ifould explores the consequences of our snap decision-making.

A first impression is your initial condition for analysing another human being." Said Professor Frank Bernieri of Oregon State University

Bernieri is an expert in what's known as "thin-slicing methodology". His research is based on the theory that we make a reasonably accurate assessment of a person from observing just a few seconds, or a "thin slice", of their behaviour. From the evidence gleaned in not much more than a few glances, we decide whether we like another person, whether they're trying to flirt with us, whether they're friend or foe. If you've ever changed seats on a train or crossed the road to avoid someone, because there was something "not quite right about them", you've used your ability to thin-slice. In that instance, you were probably aware of a gut instinct - you may have felt as if your sense of perception was heightened because there was the possibility of danger - but we thin-slice people in all kinds of situations, not just when we feel threatened.

Those early assessments that we make of people set us on a certain course. If we have decided that a new acquaintance is a certain type of person, who thinks, feels and behaves a certain way, we pay more attention to evidence that confirms our theory is correct. This cognitive phenomenon is known as the "confirmation bias". For example, after meeting a friend's new partner you might decide they are a little aloof. From then on, you will be on the look out for other signs of that aloofness, noticing when they blank someone else at a party, or don't offer to buy a round at the pub. You won't necessarily notice that they offered to buy a round, but everyone declined. We seek out the information that tells us we are right, and we ignore or assign little importance to anything that might suggest otherwise. Moreover, studies indicate that people who tend to be more confident about their judgments of others are in fact less accurate

A study by Professor Nalini Ambady of Tufts University, Massachusetts demonstrates how powerful this phenomenon can be. At the beginning of their first year, she asked students to fill in an evaluation form of their lecturer, rating him or her for likeability, openness and so on. The forms were completed before any actual lectures had taken place but, two years on, the judgments corresponded almost exactly with the students' final assessments of their tutor. Two years of study had made no difference to what they first thought - the time only served to confirm their initial impression.

What the research of the past 20 years has taught us is the power of our intelligent unconscious can perceive in just a few seconds what might take years of evaluation with the rational part of our minds.

Although our rapid cognition is fairly accurate, it's still possible for us to misread someone the first time we meet them. No matter how shrewd you might think you are - and most of us like to think we're a good judge of character - we are subject to all kinds of cognitive biases, which stretch and distort our judgment.

Indeed, our assumptions and expectations influence the way that we behave. "For example, if I've heard about you, perhaps from a mutual friend, then I might have already decided I'm going to like you," says Ambady. "Then, when I meet you, I'm going to behave in a more positive way towards you, which, in turn, is going to get you to behave in a more positive way towards me."

Another research by social psychologist Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School is studying how we evaluate people we meet. Cuddy is known for her research on power posing, which she presented last year at TedGlobal and the annual PopTech conference in Maine. This research suggests that if you strike a strong pose — where you take up as much space as possible — your levels of testosterone rise, while cortisol levels drop. The result: If you do it for two minutes before going into a job interview or other public performance, you will have more confidence and perform better.

Cuddy returned to PopTech this year with an all-new talk about how we form first impressions. Turns out that when we meet individuals or groups for the first time, we mostly evaluate two metrics: trustworthiness and confidence. And the best part is that once you understand this, you can learn to make a better first impression.

A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments). Their research is presented in their article “First Impressions,” in the July issue of Psychological Science.

 

How to make a great first impression:

First, be open. "There's a behavioural principle known as the expressivity halo - people who communicate in an expressive, animated fashion tend to be liked more than difficult-to-read people," says Bernieri, "even if they're expressing something such as irritation. Because we're more confident in our reading of them, they're less of a threat."

Second, make the effort to discover things you have in common. Books you've read, films you've seen, mutual friends or enemies - the things we share create a powerful bond. "It's called the similarity attraction hypothesis," says Bernieri. "It's powerful because it's a cognitive processing phenomenon - a reflex, not an analytical skill."

It isn't rational, but finding out that you share the same name as someone can create a sense of affection for that person. We're even more likely to vote for someone if we think we have something in common.

Third, Use people’s representational System VAK  ( NLP topic ) to create a great first impression. However, most of first impression will be made on visual bases.

 

Points to focus on :

-          Dress to impress.

-          Hygiene.

-          Grooming.

-          Firm hand shake ( but don't be a bone crusher )

-          Body posture (stand tall , shoulders back "confidant posture" )

-          Eye contact

-          Smile

-          Remember using the name

-          Relax and Be yourself

-          Positive

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It is always true , You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.

Generally , if people judge you based on your first impression , and they are more likely willing to buy from you accordingly... Imagine, what can you do if you master how to make great first impression.

 

References :

www.forbs.com

www.theguardian.com

www.wired.com

www.psychologicalscience.org