The Science of First Impressions

A few years ago, researchers at New York University examined the neuroscience of how people form impressions of others. While their brains were being scanned, subjects were shown a photograph of a face and read six sentences about that person.

Afterwards, the subject was asked for their overall impressions of each profile.

Two parts of the brain were involved, the posterior cingular cortex and amygdala.  Together they help us compute first impressions of others. These regions sort information on the basis of its personal and subjective importance and summarise it into an ultimate score, a first impression.

In forming those first impressions, we automatically process relevant information about somebody, based on how important they are to our own motivations. Our split-second reactions to other people are assessments of their value to us.

Put simply, meeting people activates the same region of the brain responsible for assigning prices to objects.  After we’ve assigned a value to a person, we make the decision about how to orient ourselves to that person: do we want to get closer? Knowing what this person’s value is to us, do we want this person to be involved in our network?

Based on this study, one of the best ways to take advantage of a first impression is to give people a reason to trust and value you. Everything people see and experience of you in seconds goes towards their thought triggers.  Your appearance, facial expressions, body language and choice of words are all part of the decision-making process.

The ultimate goal is to give someone the impression that it’s not only OK for the first-impressionother person to get close to you, but that it would be well worth their time.

Presentations – Traps to avoid when you speak

Whenever you begin to speak, whether your audience is one person or a thousand, you want to get a specific message across.  Maybe you want your opinions heard at meetings, or perhaps you are giving a formal presentation, internally or externally.

Anyone who sets out to present, persuade and propel with the spoken word faces these major pitfalls: Continue reading

Why making an impact in meetings is important

Meetings are an ideal forum for you to make an impact.

If you are running the meeting, make sure you send out an agenda prior to the meeting with date and time, subjects to be discussed, who will be attending and a clear objective of what the meeting is there to achieve.  This last point keeps Continue reading

Why Attitude is King

Positive thinking doesn’t mean you bury your head in the sand and ignore the bad. Positive thinking just means you approach the less pleasant aspects in a more positive manner. You think the best is going to happen, not the worst. Continue reading

Three habits that will make people recommend you

1.  Always do what you say you are going to do

2.  Be there on time

3.  Always say please and thank you

I know these may seem like common sense but you would be surprised at how many people let these three slip.  Saying you are going to do something is a promise, a promise broken is trust broken.

When you are later that you said you would be for a meeting or worse still, late delivering your product or service, that is trust broken.

Never saying please and thank you makes people question your integrity.  Guess what……trust is broken.

Trust is the foundation stone on which we build personal and business relationships.  Get it right!productivity3

What makes you better than someone else?

Provocative question…

In reality time is what shows people whether you are better.  Whether you do what you say you’ll do and when you’ll do it.  In the beginning however, people take a guess.  The suss us out by what you choose to project through the impression we make.

Just for 5 minutes, take stock of how you want to come across to people and then look in the mirror and be honest with yourself.  Do you walk those wishes or is there room for improvement.

Now look at your emails and letters – do they convey your values or are you often rushed for time and not able to really get across the benefits you bring.

In fact look at every aspect of how you look, sound and behave and take steps to make changes where you feel changes are needed.

It’s a worthwhile exercise and could make a huge difference to your success.

Gravitas

This is a commodity that is growing in demand. The Oxford Dictionary definition is solemnity but in business it means status, self awareness and authority.  Those who have it exude it.  They do not need to explain themselves and they have integrity.

Gravitas is not something you are born with, but you can develop it.  There is no quick-fix for looking, sounding and acting with more authority.  But there are many tips and techniques which can help you project gravitas. Continue reading