How to make better first impressions in 60 seconds

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Anyone who has attended a networking event, gone on job interviews, or even first dates, knows the value of the first impression. It’s enormous and cannot be overstated. We can’t help but have first impressions lead our judgments on job candidates, employees, potential vendors, and everyone in between.

Recently, I was able to interview Patrick King, author of the new book, Connect Instantly: 60 Seconds to Likability, Meaningful Connections, and Hitting it Off With Anyone, and he gave me a few insights into first impressions. As he put it, “The first impression is important because it forever influences the way people see you and interpret your actions. Everything is through the lens of that first impression. If you make a bad impression, people will be surprised and shocked that you helped an old lady across the road or donated to charity. If you make a good impression, people assume the world of you and you will receive the benefit of the doubt every time. Obviously, we want the latter to be true every time.”

King gave me the following three tips on how to connect instantly with anyone we come across and make a flawless first impression.

Watch on Forbes:

Tip #1: Social Cues From Body Language

Our body language is the first key to making a good first impression. King states, “Social cues are what we really want to say to people, but don’t. They are physical manifestations of how we truly feel inside–they are subtle and they can be sneaky, but the better you can see them, the better you can understand the read people.” In the office, this can manifest as the person who steps into your cubicle or office, doesn’t notice that you are trying your best to continue working, so they keep talking until you finally make an excuse to leave your own space.

According to King, it’s not what someone is saying (or not saying), it’s all about their actions. Despite how interested someone appears to be, examine the direction their body is pointing or moving in. If someone’s toes and shoulders are square to you, that’s a good indication they are actually interested and not seeking another option to interact with. However, if they are actively moving away and increasing the distance from you, there aren’t many other ways to interpret that–they want to get away from you, politely.

For example, if they are opening a door, closing a window, turning their body to another direction, inching away, picking something up, trying to engage in someone or something else, King opines that you just might be out of luck. They are less interested in continuing the interaction, and are signaling that subtly. When you are trying to make a great first impression make sure to “square up” to the person you’re speaking with and maintain good eye contact.

Tip #2: Validate

King’s second way to make a great first impression is to understand why people engage in social conversation at all. He states that there are only so many reasons why we have social conversations, and one prevailing reason is to feel good about ourselves and gain social approval and social validation. He believes people are often, “selfish, self-important, and self-absorbed.” Therefore, King states that you can grant validation by asking for their advice and opinions.

In other words, King says to make an expert out of someone. All this requires is a passing knowledge about someone’s interests or areas of expertise. For instance, if you know someone who skis twice a year, or has gone skiing in the past month, you can consider that an area of expertise. Then ask questions that only they can answer. That part is key. You’re treating them as someone with specialized knowledge and allowing them to educate you. You are giving them the spotlight and making them feel important and intelligent. This doesn’t work when you speak about the weather because it’s an inherently boring topic, and it’s a topic anyone on the street could talk about. Give them the spotlight and encourage them to step into it.

Tip #3: Wonder

King’s third tip for great first impressions is more of a mantra to repeat to oneself. When you start to wonder about the other person, it changes your perspective on them completely.

You start to actually care and grow curious about them. Not only shallow traits, such as their occupation or how their day is going, but what motivates them and what makes them act in the way they do. Having a sense of wonder and curiosity about someone is one of the most powerful mindsets because it makes you want to scratch your itch. Scratching the itch of curiosity will become secondary to everything else because you simply want to know about the other person.

King asks the actions we take when we actively wonder about a topic. We would fall down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia, research on our own time, ask deep questions, and try to assemble the pieces mentally. When you can do this with a person, you are going to skip the small talk interview questions and get right down to the details because it’s what you care and wonder about.

In summary, don’t underestimate the importance of making a good first impression and realize that people judge others in mere minutes. Be mindful of your body language, solicit their advice in areas of their expertise, and maintain a sense of genuine curiosity.

You’ll never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” We’ve all heard that an interviewer, or a stranger at a party, will form an impression of you, your character, your personality — an impression that is nearly indelible — all within the first 60 seconds of meeting you.

Or wait, is it 30 seconds? Twenty?

Forget whatever figure you may have heard. Not to intimidate you, if you happen to be preparing for a job or grad school interview, or a blind date, but new research shows that you may need to have your act together in the blink of an eye.

A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov reveal that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments). Their research is presented in their article “First Impressions,” in the July issue of Psychological Science.

Like it or not, judgments based on facial appearance play a powerful role in how we treat others, and how we get treated. Psychologists have long known that attractive people get better outcomes in practically all walks of life. People with “mature” faces receive more severe judicial outcomes than “baby-faced” people. And having a face that looks competent (as opposed to trustworthy or likeable) may matter a lot in whether a person gets elected to public office.

Willis and Todorov conducted separate experiments to study judgments from facial appearance, each focusing on a different trait: attractiveness, likeability, competence, trustworthiness, and aggressiveness. Participants were shown photographs of unfamiliar faces for 100 milliseconds (1/10 of a second), 500 milliseconds (half a second), or 1,000 milliseconds (a full second), and were immediately asked to judge the faces for the trait in question (e.g., “Is this person competent?”). Response time was measured. Participants were then asked to rate their confidence in making their judgments.

Participants’ judgments were compared with ratings of the same photographs given by another group of participants in a preliminary study, in which there were no time constraints for judging the personality traits of the faces. (In that preliminary study, there was strong agreement among the various participants about the traits of the people in the photographs.)

For all five of the traits studied, judgments made after the briefest exposure (1/10 of a second) were highly correlated with judgments made without time constraints; and increased exposure time (1/2 or a full second) didn’t increase the correlation. Response times also revealed that participants made their judgments as quickly (if not more quickly) after seeing a face for 1/10 of a second as they did if given a longer glimpse.

Longer exposure times did increase confidence in judgments and facilitated more differentiated trait impressions (that is, less correlation between the different traits for a given person).

All the correlations between judgments made after a 1/10-second glimpse and judgments made without time constraints were high, but of all the traits, trustworthiness was the one with the highest correlation. Along with attractiveness, this was also the trait that participants were able to assess most quickly. The authors suggest, based on evolutionary psychology, that an accelerated and accurate ability to judge trustworthiness in others may have evolved as an important survival mechanism.

But before you rest secure in the knowledge that at least you have a whole 1/10 of a second to make that great first impression at your next job interview, the authors acknowledge that future research may well close that window even smaller. Other researchers recently revealed in Psychological Science that objects are categorized as soon as they are perceived; something similar, Willis and Todorov suggest, may be true of certain trait judgments.

It may be that, to impress a prospective employer with your competence and trustworthiness, or a prospective mate with your attractiveness, you can do it in, well, no time. That may be a good or bad thing, depending.

How to make better first impressions in 60 seconds

The first 30 seconds count. Whether it’s a date or a job interview, our brains make snap judgments about people within seconds of meeting them.

It starts before they even open their mouths. Research shows the first 30 seconds of an interview often determines whether the person gets hired or not.

Most of the time we don’t even realize how quickly we judge people. Our subconscious mind evaluates the person in seconds. Our conscious mind then proceeds to identify clues that validate what we already think.

It’s unfair, but it’s also a fact.

Whether it’s a sales call, a blind date, or a first meeting with future in-laws, if you want things to go well, it pays to be intentional about how you handle the first 30 seconds.

Here are 10 tips to help you close the deal, land the job, get the guy, woo the woman, or win over your future mother-in-law:

1. Open your body
Before you walk in the door take a minute to take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and straighten your posture. If you walk into the room with open body language you’ll come across as confident and relaxed.

2. Smile
It sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many people go into a meeting looking like they just smelled something bad. Don’t wait for them to smile at you. Walk in smiling with your mouth and your eyes.

3. Leave bulky bags outside
Struggling with straps and packages makes you look frazzled and disorganized. If you’re hauling around a 30-pound Samsonite, discretely drop it by the door before you enter the room. You want the attention on the people, not your stuff.

4. Make eye contact with everyone
It’s tempting to zero in on the person in charge, but while you’re zooming in, the others feel left out. Upon entering, make direct eye contact with every person in the meeting.

5. Let them know you’re delighted to be there
A comment like, ” Driving over here, I was thinking about how excited I am about this meeting.” lets them know they’re important to you. You don’t have to suck up, just sincerely share your enthusiasm.

6. Get them talking within 30 seconds
Don’t start with a monologue. Engage them immediately by asking a question. Nodding with eye contact as they answer helps you establish an immediate connection.

7. Be prepared, not scripted
Plan some comments in advance, but don’t script things out so much that you sound like a robot. If their company just launched a great ad campaign, plan to mention it. Knowing you have something for later gives you more confidence in the beginning.

8. Ask an unexpected question
You can ease tension by asking something off-beat like, “They say the world is going to end today, what do you think we should order for lunch? Only do it if you’re comfortable with humor.

9. Don’t fidget
As tempting as it is to tug at your waistband or tie, don’t. When they’re talking look directly at them, don’t fiddle with your socks.

10. Be authentic
Planning doesn’t mean being fake. People can spot a phony. The goal of preparation is to give you the confidence that allows the real you to shine through. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is to be yourself.

Let’s try an experiment.

How to make better first impressions in 60 seconds

I flash this collage of different people – all different types of people – in front of you and your job is to tell me what you think of them. What is your first impression when you look at them. Who looks friendly? Who is a little too different for your taste? Who would you want to get to know? Who would you want (and not want) to become a client? Who appears trustworthy? Who looks successful? Who looks like they still live at home?

How long do you think it would take you to form an initial impression of each one?

A few minutes? 60 seconds? 10 seconds?

Believe it or not, research says it only takes the majority of us 1/10 of a second to make an initial first determination.

1/10 of a second based on looking at someone’s face.

It sounds absurd, but think about it. You go to a party or an event where you don’t know many people. You scan the room to find someone who seems appealing to you – maybe it’s someone who looks successful, or is attractive, or quirky, or funny, or smart, or out of place. Someone who you can relate to. Or want to relate to. One glimpse around the room is all it takes. Within a few short seconds, you scan the room and you make a decision to go talk with one of them (or not) for a reason. They look approachable. They seem friendly. They appear influential.

Now what if your picture was one in this collage. What initial impression would you leave on others? What would you want them to think about you?

I just travelled this weekend and so was in the airport for a few hours. I (very, very quickly) could have picked out three people I would’ve liked to have a conversation with of the thousands I saw. And so could you.

Every day, whether we like it or not, we’re making an impression on someone.

We may not always see them face to face, but know without a shadow of a doubt, you are making an impression.

As a business owner, where are the places you have the ability to make a positive first impression every day?

In your community.

More than likely, since you are a local business, you frequent different establishments in your area. When you go… Are you kind? Do you start conversations with people? Do you tip well? Are you genuinely interested in their businesses and how you can help them? Are you actively looking for ways to partner with them so that you can highlight what they do?

You are a constant walking billboard for your business. Be friendly and interested in others, and they will want to know more about you. Support local, and they will want to support you. Build relationships. Be a connector. Promote other people and they will be more apt to spread good things about you. Get out in your community and be impactful.

In your location.

Know this – when someone walks into your business for the first time, 9 times out of 10, they are intimidated. Everything you offer is new to them. Nothing feels familiar. We are all creatures of comfort to some degree, so the fact that they summoned up the courage to step in your building means something.

When they come… Is it welcoming? Do you speak a language they can understand? Can they feel themselves fitting in quickly? The Platinum Principle states “ Do unto others, as they’d like done unto them. ” Pay attention to this, and ask new clients (once they become a paying customer) what their initial impression was to see how you can make it more inviting for the next new client.

On your social media.

What’s your social media like? Is it all about you? Or are you educating? Are your clients the hero’s of your Facebook and Instagram pages? Are your images, blog posts, Facebook posts, and videos captivating, funny and informing, or are they annoying and turning people off? Your contribution on social media doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to add value to other people’s lives. They want to know within a few seconds how you can make their lives better – make them laugh, make them think, invite them to be a better version of themselves.

On your website.

Your website is your online front door. Research says , “ When viewing a website, it takes users less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression…. But it takes a little longer – about 2.6 seconds – for a user’s eyes to land on that area of a website that most influences their first impression .” So, you have between .02 and 2.6 seconds to make a good first impression with your website. That’s not much time.

Many new clients will choose you because of the first impression your website makes vs. the guy’s website down the street. How current is your website? Did you build it 3 years ago and haven’t made changes to it since because it’s too overwhelming to know where to start? Does your website communicate the message that anyone is welcome, or does it insinuate that only the elite can do what you do? Think about yourself and the websites you go to… and remember, we all make judgments about a business based on our initial impression of their website.

When someone sends you an email.

I’ve sent many emails and have got an autoresponder that says something like, “We love it that you are interested in what we do here at Company xyz! We’ll get back to you shortly….“ For the love – please turn these off and just respond to their email with a personal email within 24 hours. Nobody wants an automated email response like that… it’s just so impersonal. And, when you write your email back, write with a smile… your email will be much more effective.

When someone calls you.

This involves paying attention to two things: 1) your voicemail. People who call for the first time make a determination about you based on the tone of your voice. Be kind. Smile when leaving your voicemail message. Then call them back as soon as you can. And 2) when you answer and talk on the phone – do you sound like someone people would like to have a further conversation with? Or are you distracted and quick to the point? Your tone says more than you know to those looking to be convinced you’re worthy of doing business with.

What to do:

Take inventory of all the places you have the potential of impacting others without maybe even realizing it. You are without a doubt every day making first impressions. Smile. Lean in. Be confident (but please, not arrogant!). Be interested. Ask questions. Make eye contact. Be the best version of you. Add value. By doing these things, you are actively working to make those impressions be good and lasting, and your business will most certainly continue to grow over time.

How to make better first impressions in 60 seconds

Every entrepreneur knows that first impressions are important, but you may not know just how little time you have to actually make one. Within the first seven seconds of meeting, people will have a solid impression of who you are — and some research suggests a tenth of a second is all it takes to start determining traits like trustworthiness.

That isn’t enough time to talk about your history, charm your new contact, or make up for any initial blunders. And entrepreneurs who are making a pitch to potential investors or customers don’t have the luxury of banking on a second meeting to clear up any misconceptions. So what can you do to make a better first impression?

Making the Most of an In-Person Meeting

There are different situations when making a first impression counts, but let’s start with the most traditional: meeting someone in person, whether it’s in a client meeting or at a networking event.

Dress and groom appropriately. This should go without saying, but people will judge you on your looks long before they judge your words or actions. After all, it only takes a fraction of a second to start making snap judgments, and Dr. Marcia Sirota says we do it all the time: ” It’s no problem for us to imagine that we understand why a person has taken a particular course of action. We don’t really know; we make a guess based on our imagination, past experiences or wishful thinking.”

Thus, you can start off on the right foot by dressing appropriately for the event. While we all may wish there weren’t expectations placed on our appearance in terms of professional events, the reality is that they are; small things like hair and makeup can actually nudge people to see you as more influential.

Smiling is shown to be a psychological signal of altruism (among other positive correlations). When you smile at someone, it makes her more likely to trust you, and it makes you seem more approachable. Flashing a smile in those first seven seconds of meeting someone may be all it takes to forge a stronger first impression and connection.

Speak slowly and clearly. When you start talking to someone for the first time, don’t worry about conveying lots of information as quickly as possible — while this may seem like a fast way to impress others, it can overwhelm them. Instead, speak slowly and clearly: It will make you seem more articulate and intelligent, and it will give your listener more time to digest what you’re saying. Speaking slowly and deliberately is also a sign of confidence, which is indispensable in making a good first impression.

And watch your posture: Keeping good posture, with your shoulders back and your head held high, makes you seem more confident and powerful to other people, strengthening your first impression. It may also increase your own feelings of confidence, giving you more power in your interactions.

Showcasing a Storefront

Of course, if you have a physical store or establishment, you’ll also need a way to make a first impression with new customers and prospective customers who walk past your location. First, make sure you’ve invested heavily in your business’s signage; this is often the first thing people will notice about your storefront. You’ll want to choose something creative and original so you stand out from your competitors, but also something that falls closely in line with your brand.

Make cleanliness a priority. Any sign of dirt or disorganization may turn customers away from your store, even if everything else about your offer is strong. Make sure the inside of your store is as clean as possible, and spend time organizing and cleaning the outside of it as well by washing the windows, cleaning the sidewalk, and keeping your parking lot in order. In cluttered or dingy stores, people assume that if the business owner doesn’t care, why should they?

Work to catch people’s eye — you can’t make a first impression if you never grab prospective customers’ attention. Spend some time making your storefront more eye-catching, putting your best items on display in the window, or utilizing structure and color to make your store “pop” compared to the others on your street. Note what draws your eye in when you’re walking or driving by, and try to replicate the details that fit your brand.

A friend of mine owns a boutique that sells women’s clothing that’s unique and appealing, but she found that the idea of a “boutique” scared off some customers squarely in her demographic. To showcase the attractive appearance and price of her wares, she added an alcove near the front entrance that enabled people to view some of the clothing without entering — but many more walked in after spying some of the clothes outside.

Presenting a Website

If your business exists primarily in a digital environment, your website will be your main source of first impressions. Website visitors won’t make an effort to read your entire site’s content before making a quick assessment about staying, so keep things concise. They’ll only give you a few seconds — in fact, visitors may form an impression of your site in as little as 50 milliseconds. A concise tagline or headline at the top of your site should let customers know exactly what they can expect from the rest of your content.

Include photos and videos that evoke a feeling. Those 50 milliseconds may not be long enough to guarantee even a tagline will be read; instead, convey emotions and the power of your brand through photos and videos. One entrepreneur I know showcased his business’s dedication to the environment by displaying photos of his team volunteering at a national park alongside pictures of the brand’s eco-friendly products. This both humanized the brand and underscored its commitment to a cause.

Make your website intuitive to use. New visitors should be able to instinctively know where to find your products and be able to navigate your website cleanly, without any hesitation. If they’re confused in the first few seconds, they’re going to leave. Investing in some usability testing can make a huge difference in the functionality of your site and the way prospects view you.

No matter how you’re forming a first impression with your customers and contacts, it’s important to work quickly to avoid facing the consequences of a negative or nonexistent first impression. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll be, and the more you prepare for your future interactions, the more targeted your approach can be.

It’s all about your voice.

How to make better first impressions in 60 seconds

You’ve heard the old saying that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so you know first impressions are important, and durable. You may have heard that people make up their minds about each other within 30 seconds of meeting, or on some other equally flimsy basis. So you know that first impressions are formed quickly.

What you may not realize is that those durable first impressions are formed even more rapidly than we thought, according to the research. One study found that people develop widely-shared, widely similar impressions of you in less than a second.

That’s roughly the time it takes to say “hello.” By the time the second syllable is out of your mouth, everyone in the room has settled on what sort of person you are, they agree on the assessment, and it’s a fairly broad one, like “trustworthy,” or “confident,” or “aggressive,” or “dominant,” or “warm.”

That’s amazing—and it suggests that it’s not your witty repartee or your insights into the current political situation that are helping to form this opinion. It’s your non-verbal signals and your tone of voice.

This study, in fact, focused on tone of voice, and found that widespread agreement on 64 people recorded saying “hello.” In fact, out of 320 participants, apparently just about everyone agreed on one male “hello” in particular. He was rated overwhelmingly untrustworthy.

We’d all give a good deal not to have that voice, right?

So what were the characteristics of that voice? Here, sadly, it all gets a little more complicated. But apparently, if your voice is rising at the end, like, “Hello?” then you’re deemed less trustworthy. Especially if you’re a woman. If your voice is too growly, if you’re a male, then you rate lower on the trustworthy scale too. So don’t channel your inner Harrison Ford if you’re trying to connect with people at that level. Instead, you might think Tom Cruise, whose voice is a little higher.

But what’s particularly interesting is that it’s not just trustworthiness that people agreed on—the participants essentially agreed on all the characteristics.

We form remarkably consistent impressions of people with extraordinary speed.

What can you do about it? Here’s a little trick. Just before you say hello, take a quick, deep breath. From the belly.

That will increase the resonance of your voice, its musicality, which will help your rating on a number of levels and for a number of traits including trust, confidence, warmth, and dominance.

Avoid the trap of saying hello with a rising pitch at the end, as if it were a question. That will undercut your trust and confidence ratings. And while you’re at it, if you’re willing to do the work, avoid two other traps that are particularly common these days: the vocal growl, what some people call “vocal fry,” and the vocal swallow, where the sound of your voice comes from the back of the throat.

I don’t have the scope in this post to go into all the reasons why those last two traps are so destructive to your voice and the impression you make, but the short version is that you’ll lose authority and leadership qualities while at the same time damaging your vocal cords (in the long run).

I hope that’s reason enough. Breathe, say hello, and do so on a rising-then-falling pitch, but not a vanishing volume, and not from the back of the throat. And you’re good to go.

Human beings are built to size each other up quickly. These first impressions are influenced by a number of factors, such as facial shape, vocal inflection, attractiveness, and general emotional state. People tend to get attached to their initial impressions of others and find it very difficult to change their opinion, even when presented with lots of evidence to the contrary.

As a result, it’s important to be aware of how one comes across to others during a first meeting. Then one can employ impression management skills—modulating any irritating traits and accentuating one’s strengths—to ensure that people have a more favorable opinion of one. Everything from clothing style and posture to conversational topics can be adjusted to form a better first impression.

Contents

  • Making a Good First Impression
  • Understanding How Others See You

How to Make a Good First Impression

How to make better first impressions in 60 seconds

It takes a mere seven seconds to make a first impression. People thin-slice others based on how a person looks and sounds, more so than their explicit verbal statements. Often, someone’s first impression is influenced by implicit attitudes of which they are unaware, which explains impulsive actions like giving special preference to those with physical beauty or more easily trusting a person who has a babyface. The observational powers (biases) of the observer are just as important as the qualities projected by the target, or person being judged, making these judgments a constant dance between objective information and selective signal-reading.

How important is a first impression?

People will quickly judge others’ trustworthiness, physical strength, and intentions to do harm based on subtle facial and vocal cues. These traits may differ slightly across cultures; for example, some studies have found that Chinese societies form first impressions based on competence (i.e., perceptions of intelligence and social status) rather than on physical strength.

What kind of first impression do you make?

People tend to be self-critical after an initial conversation and wrongly assume they’ve made a bad first impression; experts call this tendency to underestimate one’s likeability the “liking gap.” People may also be fooled by the “spotlight effect,” which leads them to believe that others are hyper-focused on them, judging them for every imperfection, awkward question, or bad joke.

How can you make a good impression?

Using impression-management skills, you can modify the way you present yourself to influence other people’s perceptions of you. Pay attention to how you speak (whether you’re animated, express emotion, etc.), your facial expressions, your use of gestures, and your posture. Hone your storytelling skills, and show a genuine interest in what others have to say.

Understanding How Others See You

How to make better first impressions in 60 seconds

The term metaperception refers to how an individual interprets other people’s perceptions of them. Thinking highly of oneself is beneficial; those who believe they are viewed positively by others tend to have higher self-esteem. Most people’s metaperceptions tend to be fairly accurate since individuals generally have a stable self-concept that governs how they act around others. For example, if we believe that we’re friendly and likable, we will be more likely to act, or continue to act, in a friendly manner toward strangers.

How can you avoid making a bad first impression?

It can be off-putting when someone comes on too strong at first. Common mistakes include trying to reveal too much about yourself too soon, dominating the conversation, or placing unreasonable demands on other people you don’t know well. When it comes to first impressions, it’s best when the way you believe you are presenting yourself matches how others perceive you.

How do narcissists come across at first meeting?

Metaperception has been widely studied within the realm of narcissism. Narcissists tend to view themselves as confident, agreeable, and friendly. Their high self-esteem may make them seem charming and attractive initially, although this first impression quickly sours. In time, people typically see through to how self-involved and smug narcissists truly are.

How can you make a good impression online?

While it’s important to use attractive and appropriate photos on social media and online dating sites, we often judge strangers by what they write. Grammar and spelling errors in an online profile can make someone seem inattentive or less intelligent—and therefore less attractive.

How to make better first impressions in 60 seconds

I have a love-hate relationship with networking. On one hand, it gets draining to be “on” for hours at a time. On the other hand, it’s a fascinating thing when you realize that you get to connect with another person in this great big world.

Fortunately, my dad taught me to become a strong speaker at a young age, always correcting me when I said “um” and helping me revise speeches to include more impactful words. This translated to my networking days, when I quickly had to learn to impress someone really fast before they got distracted.

Although I understand that I don’t need to be liked by everyone I meet, I always have two goals: be memorable and have my new acquaintance leave our conversation feeling like it added value to their life. Yes, they’re lofty goals, but I figure that if I can’t complete either of those goals, then the interaction was pretty much useless.

So, how do you get there in 60 seconds? Chances are if you can accomplish that in 60 seconds, then you are guaranteed their attention for a lot longer than that.

The first two things I always make sure to do is deliver a solid handshake and a genuine smile. You don’t have to be overly excited or feign happiness but aim to be a nice, interesting, and authentic person.

From there, your only goal is to get them to talk about their favorite topic: themselves.

Start by making a comment about something you can both relate to right now – perhaps it’s the similar or not so similar drinks you have in your hand, the venue of the event, or even a nod to the cool new shoes they’re wearing. No matter what this first comment is, speak it with intentions to drive the conversation towards them.

My second pro tip? Get them to smile or laugh. It breaks the ice in a more unconventional way and if they don’t remember what your conversation was about, at least they’ll remember that you made them happy.

I was recently at an all-you-can-eat Brazilian BBQ dinner that a company I work with was sponsoring. You know, the one where they go around and keep cutting savory meat onto your plate until you ask them to stop. Anyway, I was nominated to do a 30-second spiel about the company and although I’ve spoken in front of large crowds before, this crowd was one filled with lawyers and C-suite executives of brand name companies. I was a little nervous.

As I stood up and started my speech, it was strong. I made eye contact, I annunciated my words, and I was genuinely excited to talk about the company. Maybe a little too excited. Halfway through my speech, just as I was getting to the good stuff, I forgot to breathe and abruptly hiccuped.

Absolutely embarrassed, I paused and immediately said, “Excuse me, that was the filet mignon coming back up.”

The room erupted in laughter. I was shocked. In a room full of suit and ties, I had made them laugh. I had gotten their attention because I related it back to how everyone in that room was feeling at the moment — overfilled with premium meat cuts.

I finished the speech in good form and later apologized to the President of our company for the slip-up, but he chuckled and replied, “It doesn’t matter — they’re going to remember you. They don’t remember any of the other companies except for ours.”

The handful of people that came up afterward to commiserate with my fullness proved him right. Not only was it a chance to connect with new and once intimidating people, but it was also an opportunity to attract new clients. It came full circle.

Not every interaction will be perfect. In fact, it most likely won’t. Sometimes your audience won’t laugh. Most times, they’ll be in a bad mood or they just won’t feel like talking. Regardless of how it turns out, continue to drive the conversation back to them and emit those good vibes. You never know what will happen.

NEW YORK — You better have your introduction down to a speedy art on that next blind date or job interview. A recent survey finds you only have about 27 seconds to make a good first impression on someone new.

In fact, the survey of 2,000 Americans revealed that seven out of ten people say they decide how they feel about new people before the person even says a word. The study, commissioned by Dollar Shave Club, sought to find out what assumptions we make when meeting someone new, why we make those assumptions, and how fast it takes us to judge a new book by its cover.

Researchers found that in order to leave positive first impressions, smiling, being polite, smelling nice, being a good listener, and making eye contact are most important. Conversely, smelling bad, acting arrogantly, and dressing poorly were the top ways to leave a bad impression.

A person’s scent was found to be extremely memorable. The overwhelming majority of respondents (85 percent) said they’ll have a more favorable opinion of someone if they don’t have body odor. Yet interestingly, only 68 percent say they actually put a lot of thought into how they smell before going on a date.

Speaking of dating, three in five respondents said they make first impression judgments on dates much faster on average than they would in other social situations. What’s more, the average respondent believes that they know just 15 minutes into a first date whether they want to go on a second date and 20 minutes in whether or not they want to go home with someone. Similarly, researchers found the average person claims they’d end a date after 16 minutes if it was going poorly.

But first impressions don’t just happen upon first meeting. Two-thirds of respondents believe it’s a good idea to Google your date before you actually spend time with them.

Whether it’s a date or simply meeting friends of friends, confidence is especially important when it comes to first impressions. Eighty-three percent of those surveyed say they’re more likely to feel positively about a person who seems confident in themselves.

As for other contributions to making a good impression, the survey found that one’s ability to hold a good conversation, along with their body language, tone of voice, and fashion sense all play a role in how you will be judged — of course, in just 27 seconds.