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First Impressions Matter and Help for Introverts

badinterviewSome scientific studies say a first impression is formed in 30 seconds, others say 7 seconds and a 2006 Princeton study says it can happen in less than 1/10 of a second! No matter which study is right, we can all agree that it happens quickly and whether it is an interview, a sales call or a social event, you don’t want to miss out on making the best of your first encounter with the other party. So here are some suggestions on how to do that:

  1. Arrive early - especially allow yourself extra time if you have to deal with traffic, parking or weather concerns.

  2. Dress the part - how to dress for an interview is a separate topic, but you should dress appropriately for the setting and purpose of the meeting.  There’s a lot of discussion about personal style and how you express yourself in your dress, but it is always best to err on the conservative side rather than being too casual.

  3. Grooming matters - this includes everything from hair care to make-up, not wearing a heavy scent and being aware of your breath. This is especially important if you are a smoker. For those with pets, go over your clothes with a lint brush just before you leave or keep a lint brush in your car.

  4. Smile and make eye contact - nothing gives the impression of ease and confidence like a big smile and direct eye contact. (You don’t have to stare in to their eyes for the whole meeting, but make eye contact often when you are speaking.)

  5. Practice your handshake - there is an art to doing this well. Here’s a video tutorial.

  6. Be attentive throughout the meeting - put your cell phone and other electronics away while you enjoy conversation.

Introverts can have a hard time making a good first impression. Here’s a 2015 article from that can help those who feel socially awkward.

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