You never get a second chance to make a good first impression is a truth that has been around for a long time.
This is certainly the case when you are giving a presentation of any sort, are attending a networking event, or even calling someone on the phone.
If you don’t immediately engage the attention of your audience (even an audience of one) in a positive way, it is almost impossible to elicit favorable attention later on (unless you are good at doing back flips across the stage).
What was truly stunning to me to learn, however, is when and how long a time it actually takes for that first impression to be made.
Contrary to common belief, it is not when you start your presentation. It is not even during the brief pause you take to connect visually with the people to whom you are addressing your remarks.
In an article in Entrepreneur magazine, Vanessa Van Edwards reports on the results of a study done by researchers Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal, on when and exactly how long it takes for people to gain their first impression of someone.
People gain their first impressions of others in the first 2 seconds they see them, not hear them, simply see them! And these impressions stick, no matter what else these people do afterwards.
It’s as if, once people make up their minds about you, that’s it!
The good news is that you can very strategically choose how you show up in those first 2 seconds.
Do you enter a room or walk on stage drooping and looking disgruntled, or do you arrive smiling (or at least looking pleasantly authoritative) and standing tall?
It’s your choice.
Choose to show up fully, and that will set you up both for reducing any nervousness you may be feeling, and also for projecting an aura of success right out of the gate.
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Also published on Medium.