The poet Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
You want people — employers, new acquaintances, possible mates — to like you. And experts say this can be done in as little as 90 seconds by employing several simple tactics. So, let’s begin to make you amiable, quickly.
1. Eyebrow flash
We all know the importance of first impressions, and body language leads the way. Some experts believe the first impression people get of whether someone is a friend or foe is made by something called the eyebrow flash.
Jack Schafer, a professor at Western Illinois University and former behavioral analyst for the FBI, writes in Psychology Today:
“The eyebrow flash is a quick up and down movement of the eyebrows. As people approach one another they eyebrow flash each other to send the message that they do not pose a threat. Since eyebrow flashes can be seen at a distance, people typically eyebrow flash as they approach others.”
2. Head tilt
Another subtle gesture that makes you more approachable is the head tilt, according to Schafer. The motion is another signal that you don’t pose a threat, and don’t perceive the other person as a threat, possibly because it exposes the carotid artery in the neck. He writes:
“The carotid artery is the primary source for blood to reach the brain and if disrupted, causes severe brain damage or death within minutes.”
It may be obvious that it’s important to smile. But hold back for a second and look someone you are meeting straight in the eye first. After an initial acknowledgment, then you can smile.
This shows that you are not walking around with a constant silly grin but are actually smiling at the person you are meeting, communication expert and author Leil Lowndes tells Business Insider. It makes your smile seem more personal and sincere.
4. Eye contact
Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has learned the importance of eye contact. “Keep your eyes glued to the person who’s talking to you,” he says. “It shows them they’re important.”
Conversely, a lack of eye contact can indicate you’re untrustworthy or uninterested in the conversation — something you obviously want to avoid.
If you feel slightly uncomfortable — or even creepy — doing this, career expert Kara Ronin has a tip for making eye contact that doesn’t feel forced:
“Draw an imaginary inverted triangle on the other person’s face around their eyes and mouth. During the conversation, change your gaze every five to 10 seconds from one point on the triangle to another. This will make you look interested and engrossed in the conversation.”
Your mom’s advice holds true when you are meeting a person for the first time: Slouching does not project well.
Ronin writes at The Muse:
“[A]s you’re walking into an event, hold your head high, push your shoulders back and keep your rib cage up. This posture makes you look fearless — and taller, which helps you project a sense of authority.”
6. Don’t fidget
Another thing you probably learned from Mom: Don’t fidget.
Mentalizer Education, the website of mentalist and author Ehud Segev, notes that fidgeting is interpreted as nervousness or anxiety. The site advises:
“When engaged with a conversation, regardless if it is with one person or a group of people, refrain from making any unnecessary movements.”
Experts also say fidgeting can indicate you are lying or bored — which probably is not what you want to convey to a prospective employer.
There are several other ways to raise a new acquaintance’s comfort level. One is to listen.
There is a difference between listening and pretending you are listening — and most people can tell. The key to showing you are really listening is to not interrupt the speaker, according to Forbes. Wait for a pause to say what you have to say.
Forbes also suggests you give the speaker regular feedback and occasionally paraphrase what they are saying. Both these techniques are signs that you are truly listening, not faking it.
Flattery is OK, but don’t overdo it. Otherwise, it becomes obvious that you are trying to be a lapdog.
8. Respect all around
When I walk into an office, I show each person the same amount of respect, whether it’s the receptionist or the boss. This technique will serve you well both when you are going for a job and after you get it.
As the old saying goes, “Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.”
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