Avoid The Extreme Weather By Making A Warming First Impression
The extreme weather has only just begun but the cold snap has already outstayed its welcome for many of us in the opening month of 2019.
As I was scraping the layers of ice from my car windscreen this morning, I remembered a conversation I had with a local estate agent, new to the area, who I had met the previous week. The lady had recently been to a local networking meeting and the trauma of the frosty reception she received was written all over her face.
According to Princeton scientists in the publication ‘Psychological Science,’ a person could have a mere fraction of a second to make a lasting impression. Despite the efforts that are made after this moment, longer exposures do not significantly alter the feelings that are garnered in this initial exchange.
At most, a person has seven seconds to make a positive first impression that will be difficult to change.
So, what can you do to overcome a frosty reception, whether it be from a potential customer, or as in the case of the estate agent, a group of people? Here’s some food for thought to prevent you being left out in the cold:
Whilst it would be nice to live in a world where our appearance has little bearing on how we are judged, this is not the case. As humans, we have placed certain clothing into distinctive categories. Turning up for that formal meeting in beachwear will cause that split-second judgement to become negative and your remaining six seconds you may have had to elicit a positive response will be permanently lost. That said, sometimes it doesn’t hurt not to live up to expectations. Solicitors can often be viewed to be unapproachable so perhaps smart casual may be a preferable option in some circumstances.
It sounds so simple and yet is often overlooked as feelings of nerves can overwrite our attempts to look positive. The perception of positivity can increase the approachability of that person. Viewing a smiling face will exponentially improve that first impression when compared with expressions of anxiety, fear or boredom. More importantly, scientific studies have found that smiles are infectious and improve the likelihood of someone trusting you.
Make sure that you utilise those first seven seconds by sounding productive and using the time constructively. Try to introduce yourself during the initial exchange to break the tension. Using the name of the respondent can also be effective in helping you remember their name and validating them by bringing them into the conversation. For example, saying “it is a pleasure to meet you, Neil, I’m Joseph,” sounds a lot more professional and approachable than “it’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m Joseph.”
Make Eye Contact
Eye contact has long been viewed as a sign of respect in the Western World and many people that you may work with will foster this belief; failing to make eye contact could therefore offend the person you are meeting.
It has also been found that making eye contact can help people feel valued because you are conveying a level of interest in the speaker. Conversely, looking in other directions may create the impression that your attention is elsewhere.
Consider Your Body Language
Over three quarters of our communication is non-verbal. Ensuring that your body language sends positive signals is therefore imperative to making a good first impression.
Our brain fires neurons when reading facial expressions which causes a mirroring reaction. This is why those with empathy often yawn when they see others yawning; it is also why smiles become reciprocal.
If our body language looks positive and interested in the person we are engaging with, they are more likely to reciprocate. Avoid closed expressions like crossing arms or slouching. Similarly, looking away from the speaker for too long can cause a distance that may not be able to be breached.
In many ways, the platforms we offer our potential clients is the business’ first impression. Failing to cater to consumer expectations in those initial moments could lead to lost business.
Here at Solve Legal Marketing, we are experts within the legal sector and understand how to market your company to give the right first impression, whatever the medium/media.
If you need additional support with making that positive first impression with your consumers, Solve is here to help. Contact us here, to find out how we could help your business smile.