Much of what we achieve in life is achieved through our relationships with people. This is true for our relationships with our team, our customers, our suppliers, our business partners, etc. Making a great first impression is a key opportunity to kick off these relationships in the right way.
It’s true that some people are naturally better at making a good first impression. However, by understanding how the brain works and what is happening when someone meets you for the first time, you will be able to use some simple strategies that will help you to make a much better first impression.
Left Brain and Right Brain
You may well know that the brain is divided into two sides. The Left Brain is the Logical side of the brain and deals with reasoning and analysis. The Right Brain is the creative and emotional side of the brain.
The Right Brain is very interesting and acts as a filter for all of the inputs that we come across every day. These inputs must travel through the Right Brain before the Left Brain can analyse this is a more logical way. The Right Brain makes instant decisions about these inputs and is the key to assessing these first impressions.
The 5 Senses
Our 5 senses (Sight, Smell, Hearing, Touch and Taste) are the different ways that inputs enter our brain, and it is the Right Brain that deals with these first. It is by thinking about these 5 senses that we can put in place strategies to improve the first impression that we make.
Sight – Body language is vital when making a first impression. Stand tall, look confident, smile, make eye-contact.
Smell – Personal hygiene is important. Don’t put people off because of body odour, bad breath, etc.
Hearing – The sound of your voice can be more important than the words that you use. Make sure that your voice sounds confident and be mindful of your tone, pitch, volume, pace, etc. This is also over the phone – “smile before you dial”.
Touch – The main touch point when meeting someone for the first time is the handshake, but people haven’t been taught how to shake dads properly. The proper method is “web to web”, meaning that the webbed part of your hand between your thumb and forefinger should touch the other person’s “web”. This is especially true when meeting women – they want a proper handshake and not a light hold of their finger tips.
Taste – This is probably not relevant when meeting people for the first time.
Understanding how the brain works and using these simple tips should go a long way to helping you to make a fantastic first impression.
By Anil Puri