fb logo

9628732 - casual handshake - isolated over a white backgroundWe all know first impressions matter, but do you know just how much? New research might answer that. In five experiments that studied first impressions, researchers from the University of Chicago concluded that once you’ve made up your mind that someone is “bad,” it’s very hard to form a different impression.

Are you feeling self-conscious yet? Sometimes we don’t present ourselves well in professional settings. Maybe you weren’t prepared enough for a sales call or showed up in a stained shirt. Don’t fret. The solution is to put your best foot forward, with the help of science. Take a cue from what experts have to say about the science behind first impressions:

  • There’s no substitute for eye contact. Those who can look people in the eye are perceived as more confident and well adjusted.
  • Loosen up. Focus on walking with a looser gait. Tight posture can give off the impression of being stuffy or unapproachable.
  • It’s all about the handshake. There is a great deal of power in it. There’s a reason business deals are closed with this gesture. But that doesn’t mean it comes naturally for everyone. Sometimes professional encounters don’t go as planned. The good news is that a simple handshake can help to offset some of the damage and restore confidence. Try for firm, confident and friendly. Ladies, we’re talking to you, too!
  • Dress for success. That will mean something different in every case. But a general rule of thumb is to dress similarly to the person you’re meeting. So if they typically wear jeans, it’s OK to show up in denim or khakis. Meet them where they are, so to speak.

Do you have any tried-and-true tips for making a solid first impression? Share them on our Facebook page.