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Thus far in our year long series a “ Guide to Charm” we have explored the first half of the book Better than Beauty A Guide to Charm, where we looked at “What you do to yourself” .
- Step 1 Hair and Makeup
- Step 2 Hands and Feet
- Step 3 Posture and Weight
- Step 4 Cleanliness and Sleep
- Step 5 Defining Chic
- Step 6 Your Wardrobe
This month we delve into the second half of the book which explores “What you do to others”, starting with first impressions.
It only took a moment
Now we’ve all heard the old adage that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, and while there is some merit to that, it’s not always practical.
We live in a busy fast paced world and sometimes we only get a few moments to make split decisions, pair this with that fact that human beings are visual creatures by nature we typically start to process an assumption about a person minute we see them.
Studies have shown that we tend to make a first within the first 5 to 20 seconds of meeting an individual. Keeping this in mind there are things we can do in order to put our best foot forward and make a good impression.
Handshakes are common during most formal introduction especially those in business. The way in which you shake hands can leave a lasting impression on others.
An article from Forbes magazine back in 2012, cited that management experts from the University of Iowa declared that while analyzing interactions in a job interviews handshakes were “more important than agreeableness, conscientiousness, or emotional stability.”
While handshakes are a big part of first impressions it seems that many of us don’t often get formal training on how to handshake. I actually came across a really good inforgraphic (see below) that gives a good description of the proper way to give a handshake.
The key when giving a hand is not to be too weak or tight. It’s my experience that a good grip, firm but light handshakes shows confidence in an individual.
If you’ll notice from the handshake infographic above your smile is also an important part of your handshake and overall first impression.
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry did a survey in 2013 that found 48 percent of adults think a smile is the most memorable feature after they meet someone for the first time. Interestingly enough research has also found that 38 percent of people don’t smile during job interviews. Sadly this habit of not smiling could affect the outcome of their interview in a negative manner.
Keep in mind that people can often tell the difference between a forced smile and a genuine smile. So don’t fake it, always be genuine with your smile. Even if you aren’t in the mood to smile try to give a smile anyways. There have been several studies that say the simple state of smiling could actually improve your move and make you happy.
Tone of Voice
The last thing to consider when making a good first impression is your tone of voice. We don’t always think about the way we sound to others but studies show that 38% of people judge others on the their tone and grammar.
This is probably the hardest for me because I have a bit of an Okie (Oklahoma) accent paired with the fact that I’m slightly hard of hearing so sometimes during a conversation I find myself getting louder so I can hear what I’m saying.
The best advice I can give you about your voice is to practice talking. Record your voice and play it back, what improvements should you make. If you’ve never heard yourself recorded you’ll probably be really surprised. When I listen to my voice I feel so cheesy, thinking is that really me? I sound so bubbly, but I have such a pessimistic soul.
Another great thing about listening to yourself talk is you can catch those grammar / speech errors and try to improve them. For example many people overuse a word when talking, such as the work “ like” . You don’t even realize you are doing it, but when listening to yourself and accessing your speech you might find it to be excessive.
Simply being aware of your voice as well as what you say can make a big difference on what people think of you. Which leads us to next month topic which focuses on being “Out Going” and what we say and talk about in public.