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Tips for Successful First Impressions

 First impressions are so important. Not only are we making them about others; it’s vice versa as people make first impressions about us too.

In a new book, “Presence”, Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business school professor, says people answer two questions when they first meet you.

  • Can I trust this person?
  • Can I respect this person?

Ideally, you want to be perceived as having what psychologists refer to as warmth and competence dimensions. Most people believe that competence is more important and set out to prove they are smart and talented enough to handle business. But warmth or trustworthiness is the most important factor in someone’s evaluation.

Cuddy says that “it is more crucial to know whether a person deserves our trust.” While competence is highly valued; it is evaluated only after trust is established. Focusing on displaying your strength can backfire.

Skipping networking events, not asking for help or seeming to be unapproachable can work as negatives. “If someone you are trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you are not going to get very far, said Cuddy.

First impressions are formed within the first 7 to 17 seconds after meeting someone. 38% of a first impression is determined by tone of voice; 55% of a person’s opinion is determined by personal appearance and 93% of people’s judgments are based on non-verbal cues like body language. Addressing someone by using their name increases the likelihood that they will respond by 36%.

When I come back after an AAHAM meeting and think about our upcoming ANI, these tips are certainly of value and very relevant to the success of any attendee. I wanted to share them with you.  



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