The second you meet someone for the first time, your brain immediately makes assumptions about the other person, allowing you to decide whether you like them or not. Thin-slicing is the ability to make “very quick decisions with minimal amounts of information.” That gut feeling of ‘hey I like them’ or ‘stay away from them’ just from being around someone for a few seconds is instinctual and these mental shortcuts prove to be accurate more often than not.
First impressions truly matter in every situation and we wanna share some tips on how to make a killer one!
If you only have 30 seconds to introduce yourself, make sure you know what you’re talking about.
This is a no-brainer, but look approachable! Maintain eye contact and engage yourself with the other person. Talking with your hands and nodding occasionally always makes you look interested. But if it doesn’t come super naturally, don’t force it. You don’t want to look like you’re conducting an orchestra. There’s nothing worse than talking to someone with wandering eyes and crossed arms. When at an event, there are so many people to talk to! But while conversing with someone, give the person your full attention and never look around to see who you should talk to next.
Dress the part and look nice. Albert Mehrabian conducted experiments on communication and came up with the 7%-38%-55% rule. In a conversation, three elements of communication determine whether we like the person talking: words (7%), tone of voice (38%), and body language & appearance (55%). The latter shows that appearance really does matter!
Bond Over Common Interests
According to the Similarity Attraction Hypothesis, our brains are wired to like people similar to us so naturally, talking about common interests with someone else is probably the easiest way to bond. Talking about something you are both interested in makes you seem more relatable and approachable. We all love talking about ourselves so do most of the questioning while allowing the other person to do the answering.
Who Are You?
You’ve heard this question since your very first job interview and at first, it probably sounded something like “Um.. I’m a high school student who loves this and that and I’m looking to get a job at your company.” Hopefully it’s gotten better since, but the “who are you” question should be mastered. When given 30 seconds to introduce yourself, you want to seem interesting and know what you’re talking about. It quickly gives others a general idea about what you do as a living and what your personality is like. People will also be able to remember you quickly and know what resources you can offer.
When you’re ending the conversation, tell them how great it was meeting them. Saying their name shows them you care and will make them feel good! If you think this person could potentially be a future business partner/mentor/new bestie, exchange business cards! It’ll give you both something concrete to keep and refer back to!
Sakura & Lorena’s Tips
Experts and co-founders, Sakura and Lorena, share their favorite tips on how to make the best first impression!
What traits do you look for in potential business partners or employees?
L: I mainly look for people who are competent, confident, and have a positive attitude. I also look for ambition and a desire to succeed.
S: Their knowledge & skills of course, but personality is the most important thing for me personally. I also really look into how dedicated they are and their work ethic! I’d rather hire or work with someone that is a dedicated hard worker than a know-it-all!
You’re at an event and meeting tons of people. What’s something someone does that you find impressive?
L: Having the confidence to talk to strangers as if they were friends.
S: I think the approach on how they introduce themselves, how they shake your hand, and their eye contact says a whole lot about a person. I feel like I read people really well and it’s really impressive to me when I meet someone with a great attitude, genuine, with a great handshake!
Many first impressions can start behind-the-scenes whether it’s through email or social media. Do you have any email or social media tips for setting a good ‘digital’ impression?
L: Never write or share something that you would not want your family to see. Also, you have to remember that you are a brand. On social media, you need to post things that go according to your communication strategy and business objective.
S: I think it’s important to stay respectful, but I personally always enjoy a friendly approach on things.
What’s is your go-to outfit for meeting someone for the first time?
L: I always like to wear a cute dress and low heels. I think it looks professional, but not too formal or corporate.
S: Depends on the season, but probably skinny jeans, pointed flats, and a blouse!