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 say in seven seconds?
Do a one to seven countdown in your head right now. “Hi Mister, it’s so nice to meet you. My name’s Amanda.” Wouldn’t saying that only take about four seconds? So already four seconds are gone.
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.
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 has 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.
Did you stand up confidently to greet them? Did you make eye contact with them? Did you immediately smile at them? How are you dressed? How are you standing? Did you remain seated? Did you shake their hand, or did you hug them? Did you light up with excitement when you first spoke to them? Or was 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.
One last thing from the Harvard Study of Communications. Not only does it only take seven seconds to make a first impression, they also found that on average, it takes meeting that same person seven more times to change that first impression that you made on them. And I would bet in this market you don’t get seven opportunities to change your first impressions.
Make your first impression count.