3 Non-Verbal Signals That Sabotage Your First Impressions
Power, presence, and warmth. The three factors that create a good first impression.
This applies to nearly every situation you'll find yourself in.
Whether they realize it or not, your boss and co-workers will take notice of your non-verbal behaviour.
When you're out for drinks with your buddies, the cute girls at the nearby table will also pay attention to your body language.
Typically this is done on a subconscious level.
This part of our brain processes up to 95% of ALL OF OUR THOUGHTS.
This means that even if we're not aware of what's going on, our subconscious brain is still processing everything that's happening around us.
Which makes perfect sense.
Let me explain...
There's been days when I've put on my best outfits and would normally get a positive response.
This could be in the form of a compliment, a few cute girls turning their heads in my direction, or people being more polite than normal.
As recently as this weekend I've noticed that (while wearing a great outfit) the response wasn't the same.
In other words, I was more or less ignored.
Having done enough research about body language and confidence over the last few years the answer was clear.
The way I carried myself was the difference maker.
We've all had weeks that have been more taxing than others.
Last week was one of those for me.
It was pretty clear in my facial expression, tone of voice (lacked energy and didn't project loud enough), and my overall posture could've been much better.
Normally it would've been easy to walk into any room with confidence and strike up conversations with nearly anybody.
Due to the 3 non-verbal signals that I was projecting, my first impressions throughout the week were sabotaged!
There was likely more than a few missed opportunities as a result, but as the famous Frank Sinatra song goes, "That's life."
Here's what I've learned about the 3 critical non-verbal signals that sabotage your first impressions.
This is the fastest way to turn people off.
Often we don't even realize we're making this mistake before it's too late.
People are more attracted to those who seem approachable, dominant, and trustworthy.
There's no secret that making a positive first impression goes hand-in-hand with success.
This is especially true in a world where everyone from your next boss to a potential date is analyzing your social media profiles.
According to BBC News, "Small changes in the dimensions of a face can make it appear more trustworthy, dominant or attractive."
What the hell does this mean?
Approachability is often associated with warm, smiling facial expressions.
Dominance is of linked with faces that appear more masculine and rugged.
Looking for a quick way to appear more approachable? The easiest way to fix this is to say, "Hey" under your breath when crossing paths with someone.
It's especially helpful when you don't actually get a chance to talk to that person.
This naturally causes your face to smile and eliminates the negative impression a scowl may create.
Did you know that your body language influences how confident and credible you appear?
Slouching creates the impression that you're either worn out, lazy, or can't handle the pressure.
Not exactly how you'd like to be perceived.
Instead try making minor adjustments throughout your day.
First start by making sure your back is straight when you're sitting at your desk at work.
You also want to keep your shoulders back, chest slightly out, and chin up.
Ever get a sore back or neck after sitting for too long?
That's mainly due to your posture and the wear and tear your joints endure when they're not in the proper position.
What about if you're interested in becoming an executive? Body language is one skill they ALL have figured out.
Always make sure to keep your shoulders lined up with the person you're talking to, otherwise you risk looking like you're not paying attention.
Also avoid fidgeting since that will create the impression that you're nervous or not sure about yourself.
These aren't the traits of an executive. If you ever catch yourself making these body language mistakes, don't panic. Just remember this advice.
Creepy/Aggressive Eye Contact
Don't be THAT guy.
Nobody ever wants to be know as the creepy dude that's staring at every girl that crosses his path.
Or the one who's attempting to assert his dominance by staring down every guy within his range.
There's a fine line between too much eye contact and not enough.
A lack of eye contact creates the impression that you're lacking confidence. This also makes you less trustworthy.
Your best bet is to ALWAYS make strong eye contact when first meeting someone.
You won't come across as too aggressive as long as you have a warm smile and are actually engaged in the conversation.
If you have trouble maintaining eye contact try practising on pictures.
It's an easy way to work on improving this habit with no risk involved.
All you need to do is choose a picture (in a magazine, on social media, etc.) that has a person looking directly at the camera.
Practise holding eye contact for anywhere between 3 to 5 seconds.
Of course at first it's going to feel weird.
Once you get the hang of it, you'll notice how it translates into your day-to-day interactions.
It's an easy exercise that seriously makes a big difference. Give it a shot!
That sums it up!
You now have an idea of 3 non-verbal signals that can sabotage your first impressions.
The tricky part is that they're all subtle. So if you weren't aware of them, chances are that you could be making any of these mistakes without realizing it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
While you're here, you should check out the free style guide below...