Two seconds are what people need to form an opinion about you. A group of Harvard researchers wanted to see if there was a link between one’s teaching skills and their non-verbal cues, so they asked strangers to watch a muted 10-second video of some Harvard professors and asked them to rate each teacher on different scales including warmth, optimism, and professionalism.
The researchers then compared these ratings to the evaluations given by the Harvard students of their professors and surprisingly, they were similar. The professor who used non-verbal cues of confidence and likeability were perceived to have better teaching skills than their peers.
After shortening the videos and presenting them to the same group of participants, the research team concluded that it takes only two seconds for people to make a good or bad impression of each other.
Now, the question is: How can you make a good impression in two seconds or less? According to bestselling author, Vanessa Van Edwards, we usually ask three fundamental questions about a new person during the first few moments of an interaction:
• Are you a friend or foe?
• Are you a winner or a loser?
• Are you an ally or an enemy?
Your job is to use your body and facial language to give the right answers to all three questions. Here’s how:
Make people see your hands
After studying hundreds of TED Talks, Van Edwards and her team found a link between the talker’s hand gestures and the number of views the talk received on the internet. Less-popular talkers used an average of 272 hand gestures whereas the likes of Simon Sinek, and Jane McGonigal used more than 600 gestures in just eighteen minutes to hook their viewers. So what to do? Don’t keep your hands in your pocket. Instead, use them to make your points stand clear. It will give you credibility and get people to lower their guard.
Oxytocin is the hormone your brain releases when you’re comfortable around someone. If you can spike it in other people, they will trust you. One of the things that trigger Oxytocin is skin-to-skin touch with someone which is something you make happen when you give the other person a handshake. Your skins touch and Oxytocin flows everywhere.
For that, experts suggest that you should never replace the handshake with a high five, a wave or a fist bump. You should also make sure your hands are dry and squeeze the other person’s hands as though you’re pressing a peach to see if it was ripe. Firm enough to give an impression but not so firm to hurt their hands.
150 years ago, William James, Father of American Psychology, created the Act-as-if principle stating that if you adopt the attitudes and mindset of successful/confident people, you will eventually behave and be like them. This is precisely how you should carry yourself everywhere you go, especially around new people.
According to one study by Carnegie Mellon University, self-confidence affects your first impression more than good manners and professional reputation. Luckily, you can reach this result by controlling your body language and state.
Jordan Belfort, the real Wolf of Wall Street, said in one interview that he never gets on the phone with a prospect without first taking the power pose to make sure his words and tonality carry conviction and confidence. Similarly, many companies ask their representatives to smile on the phone so that prospects believe they are friendly.
You too can have similar effects by doing two things:
1. Borrow the mindset of confident people – Write down the top five mindsets that confident people use, which also resonate with your values and repeat them over and over in your head through the power of affirmation. Soon, your mind will adapt.
2. Use the right body language – In order to give the impression that you’re confident, not arrogant, experts suggest you do the following:
• Keep your shoulders down and back.
• Aim your chin, chest, and forehead straight in front of you or slightly up.
• Keep space between your arms and torso.
• Make sure your hands are visible.
Know what makes you feel inferior
Understanding why you don’t feel good enough is probably the most critical part of this list. Child trauma and past negative experiences usually make people either too nice or narcissistic. Public embarrassments, dreadful rejections, abusive parents and bullying friends, all can make you either so cold or a pushover.
You need to take the time to analyze what makes you inferior to people then fix yourself with mindfulness and actions until you’re free. Ask yourself the following questions:
• What situations scare me?
• Do I feel the need to impress a specific type of person? Who are they?
• When do I feel nervous and inferior the most? What do I do to overcompensate?
Once you know what brings out the worst in you, create some strategies to deal with your fears and use them over and over to break free.
What’s Next? Talk with others. Take action.
We are proud of our SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS—WEEKLY PHONE CALLS to discuss, gain insights, build communities— and help solve some of the most difficult challenges the world has today. Calls are for Members Only (although you can join the first call for free). Not yet a member of The Good Men Project? Join below!
Join the Conscious Intersectionality FACEBOOK GROUP here. Includes our new call series on Human Rights.
Join The Good Men Project Community
All levels get to view The Good Men Project site AD-FREE. The $50 Platinum Level is an ALL-ACCESS PASS—join as many groups and classes as you want for the entire year. The $25 Gold Level gives you access to any ONE Social Interest Group and ONE Class–and other benefits listed below the form. Or…for $12, join as a Bronze Member and support our mission, and have a great ad-free viewing experience.
Register New Account
Please note: If you are already a writer/contributor at The Good Men Project, log in here before registering. (Request a new password if needed).
ANNUAL PLATINUM membership ($50 per year) includes:
1. AN ALL ACCESS PASS — Join ANY and ALL of our weekly calls, Social Interest Groups, classes, workshops, and private Facebook groups. We have at least one group phone call or online class every day of the week.
2. See the website with no ads when logged in!
3. MEMBER commenting badge.
ANNUAL GOLD membership ($25 per year) includes all the benefits above — but only ONE Weekly Social Interest Group and ONE class.
ANNUAL BRONZE membership ($12 per year) is great if you are not ready to join the full conversation but want to support our mission anyway. You’ll still get a BRONZE commenting badge, and you can pop into any of our weekly Friday Calls with the Publisher when you have time. This is for people who believe—like we do—that this conversation about men and changing roles and goodness in the 21st century is one of the most important conversations you can have today.
We have pioneered the largest worldwide conversation about what it means to be a good man in the 21st century. Your support of our work is inspiring and invaluable.
This post was previously published in Addicted 2Success and is reprinted with the author’s permission.
Photo courtesy Pixabay.