Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden
The Harvard Study of Communications said that it only takes seven seconds for you to make a first impression on another human being, only seven seconds. I think that study is so fascinating because of this one little thing. How many words do you really say in seven seconds?
Do a seven-second countdown in your head right now.
I bet you got out something like I did which was “Hi, it’s so nice to meet you. My name’s Amanda.” That took about 4 seconds
What else could we possibly say in the next three seconds that’s going to make some overwhelmingly positive first impression? The truth is probably not a whole lot.
In fact, one of the parts of this study actually says that 38% of what makes up a first impression is how you sound. Only 7% of a first impression are the words you say. So all together, only 45% of a first impression has anything to do with the words coming out of your mouth. That leaves 55% of a first impression to visual. It’s how you look, it’s how you dress. It’s how you stand, it’s how you shake a hand. It’s if you make solid eye contact. It’s your personal appearance.
So many times, we focus on what to say to make a first impression. Well, studies show it’s not as much what you say, and again only 7% of the first impression had anything to do with the words that you say.
Pay attention, very acutely, to how you spend those first seven seconds that will visually capture your prospect or customer.
Do you stand up to greet them? Do you make eye contact with them? Do you immediately smile at them? How are you dressed? How are you standing? Do you stand up straight and confident? Do you remain seated? Do you shake their hand, or do you hug them? Do you light up with excitement? Or is it just an expected, “Hey, how are you?”
You may be thinking those little things don’t make a difference, but they do. Don’t let your first impression be you texting someone else, and those first seven seconds are gone in a glimmer. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Be prepared that when they come in, that they have a visual first impression of you that’s going to last.
Make your first impression count.
Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide. Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow-Up.