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Set Yourself Up for Success: Mastering the First Impression

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars

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We make first impressions all the time. These impressions can be big (like a job interview) or small (maybe lunch with a potential new friend). No matter what, every time you meet someone new you have the chance to impact how they see you.

According to the Harvard Study of Communications, you have just seven seconds to make a first impression – that’s it! From those seven seconds, what you say only makes up seven percent of said impression – 38 percent is how you sound and the other 55 percent is visual.

So how do you make a solid first impression?

CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Before you meet someone, there's a good chance that person has performed a Google search on you or checked out your social media pages. Snap judgements are easy to make, especially when you're only looking from one angle.

To combat any preconceived notions, perform a clean sweep of your social media pages. Delete any photos that may poorly represent you, or remove any posts or tweets that are overly opinionated. New research has shown that our impression of others in photographs influences our perception of those people even after interacting with them in person. Don’t leave it to chance – clean up your Instagram!

MATCH YOUR WARDROBE TO YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
While we'd like to think our personality matters most, how we appear to others is equally important – at least when meeting someone for the first time. Remember, 55 percent of a first impression is visual.

Your wardrobe is just another chance to reinforce your personal brand. Of course, what you wear will depend on the situation – dinner with friends is probably a completely different look than what you would wear your first day on the job. To that same degree, there is always the potential you could run into someone from work while you’re out with friends. Build your closet to include staples that work in any situation and are true to your personality. This should help when dressing for whatever occasion is coming your way.

BRUSH UP ON BODY LANGUAGE BASICS
Every person you meet is an opportunity to practice making a solid first impression. For starters, 48 percent of Americans find one’s smile to be the most memorable feature when meeting someone new. Smiling will not only make you feel better and more confident, but it will also help others feel more comfortable – there’s a reason they say smiling is contagious!

Working on your handshake and eye contact will also help you make a solid first impression. If you don’t want to risk “practicing” these basics on strangers or on a potential employer, enlist your friends in helping you prepare. Your handshake shouldn’t be too lazy, but it also shouldn’t be too firm. As for eye contact, be sure not to stare. There's a happy medium to everything!

When all else fails, do what feels natural. First impressions can be nerve wracking, but the truth is, we all know how to interact with others! Use the above to ease nerves and take a deep breath before meeting someone new. Feeling comfortable and confident can make all the difference!

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