How much do first impressions matter?

It takes only 1/10 of a second for someone to form an impression of you. That’s according to experiments done by Princeton psychologist Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov. Plus, what may be more disturbing, a person’s first impression rarely changes. If anything, longer exposure only , boosts confidence in the original assessment.

Since people react based on first impressions all the time, from a practical standpoint, you might as well make the most of yours. Here are some tips from behavioral experts and psychologists to make that first meeting a good one:

1. Smile! It’s twice as important as verbal communication. Really.

2. Make eye contact--but don’t stare. If you hold your partner’s gaze, you’re intelligent. If you stare, you’re creepy. Face it, prolonged ogling make human beings uncomfortable. Break eye contact every few seconds and when it feels natural.

3. Dress for success. Pay attention to detail: Get those shoes shined. Iron that shirt.

4. Be confident. Stand tall and don’t squirm or fidget, which can make you seem nervous or bored.

Bonus tip: You don’t have to spend a fortune on designer labels to look good, but do take that suit or dress to a tailor and have it fitted correctly. It will make you look more successful.

Scientists aren’t sure whether a first impression is truly an accurate gauge of an individual’s character, but it doesn’t really matter. There’s a general consensus that physical appearance matters quite a bit in impressions. It’s up to you to make the best first impression possible to have the most positive working relationship possible with someone in the future.


Regina Iulo (EJB)