Working hard to attain success, but seeing little or nothing to show for your efforts? If so, have you ever thought about how others perceive you?
Unfair as it might seem, first impressions do matter – in today’s world, they matter more than ever. An interviewer or potential business partner can find information about you online and form a lasting opinion in a matter of seconds.
Even if you maintain a clean social media presence, though, how you come across to others will be the ultimate determinant as to whether you will succeed or not at the end of the day.
Everyone makes snap judgments
As much as we like to think of ourselves as paragons of fairness, we (and everyone around us) are constantly making snap decisions based on our gut reaction to various situations.
Some of this can be attributed to instincts passed down through the ages, but our ability to size up a person improves as we accrue life experiences.
However, our own biases are not the issue – rather, we need to consider what others think about us.
While we can’t possibly know about all the filters people put in place to make sense of their world, responding appropriately to the most common ones can greatly increase our odds of success in any social arena.
When you are trying to land your dream job or sign your first big client, how you choose to present yourself will have the biggest impact of all.
There are certain attributes you can’t easily change, but there are plenty which can tip the balance in your favour if you pay attention to them.
Start by smiling more often – not fake smiles – real ones! Bring warmth and excitement to your interactions with a genuine smile. Those who flash their pearly whites are perceived to be more approachable and confident.
By matching the type of clothing you wear to something your ideal client or partner would wear in a professional context, you can show that you share standards. Looking the part means you will be viewed as more competent, bold, attractive, and so on.
Extroverts are more likely to be seen in a positive light
Much to the dismay of introverts, most people who achieve massive success tend to be extroverted in nature.
This is no accident – extroverts are open about who they are, giving them an enormous advantage from the jump.
Unafraid to reveal their true nature, less room is left in the minds of observers for them to form a negative impression.
What’s more, extroverts are more likely to smile and engage others in conversation (although, this can backfire if they come on too strong), traits which are both markers for confidence and overall likeability.
If you are introverted (or just a touch on the nervous/shy side), this might seem like too high a hurdle to jump, but with practice, you can learn how to be present and contribute to conversations by simply forcing yourself to do it.
As long as the people in your life realise there is a limit to the amount of interaction you can handle, their impression of you will improve considerably.
When the time comes to make an excellent first impression, you’ll be comfortable enough interacting with others to avoid showing traits (crossed arms, failure to make eye contact, etc) which can reflect negatively on you.
Find common ground
Contrary to popular belief, opposites do not attract. Rather, your average person naturally seeks out those with similar traits and interests. Leverage this psychological tendency when preparing for a meeting with a business contact by figuring out mutual interests.
For example, if you both admire Casey Neistat’s work, bring it up when it becomes relevant in your conversation. Did you both go to school for journalism? Express your dismay (tactfully, of course) with the current state of reporting in the media.
By doing this, you will establish a rapport with whomever you are trying to impress, thereby increasing the odds of a positive outcome for you in the long run.
About the Author
From the non-stop television world to the head offices of global corporates, Tracy has let her spirit of adventure and high standards be reflected in her work. A woman of the 21st Century, Tracy is an unstoppable force with a passion to help women overcome fears and inexperience and to thrive using video to grow their business. Tracy taps into her experience as a tv presenter and producer, making her the go-to-person for all things video. A once shy woman who battled her insecurities and turned a weakness into a strength is here to make a difference and to help women convey their message on video in an authentic way.