The great 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 the 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
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We all know the importance of first impressions, and body language leads the way. Some experts believe the first impression is made by something called the eyebrow flash.
According to 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
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Another subtle gesture that makes you more approachable is the head tilt, according to Psychology Today. The motion signals that you don’t pose a threat, possibly because it exposes the carotid artery in the neck. “The carotid artery is the primary source for blood to reach the brain and if disrupted, causes severe brain damage or death within minutes,” the article says.
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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 acknowledgement, then smile. This shows that you are not walking around with a constant silly grin but are actually smiling at the person you are meeting, according to Business Insider. It makes your smile seem more personal and sincere.
4. Eye contact
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“Keep them glued to the eyes of the person talking to you, as if they’re the most interesting person in the world,” says Stacy Johnson, Money Talks News founder. “You’re telling 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:
“If you feel a bit awkward staring into someone else’s eyes, try this little trick: 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.”
If you have to look away, do so slowly suggests Mentalizer Education.
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Your mom’s advice holds true when you are meeting a person for the first time: Slouching as you approach someone does not project well. “Good posture shows confidence,” Johnson says.
“[A]s you’re walking into an event, hold your head high, push your shoulders back and keep your rib cage up,” says Ronin at The Muse. “This posture makes you look fearless — and taller, which helps you project a sense of authority.”
6. Don’t fidget
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Another thing you probably learned from mom: Don’t fidget!
Mentalizer Education notes that fidgeting is interpreted as nervousness or anxiety. “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. Johnson also notes playing with your hair is fidgeting and a sign of boredom, which probably is not what you want to convey to, say, a prospective employer.
Other common forms of fidgeting include twisting your hands or playing with them; being preoccupied with something in front of you or your clothes; and drumming on the table, according to readingbodylanguage.com.
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There are several other ways to raise a new acquaintance’s comfort level. The first is again the most obvious: 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 by not interrupting 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 pay attention to what isn’t said, to nonverbal cues.
“When you meet someone, pretend they’re an old friend you haven’t seen for ages,” Johnson says. “Treat every stranger that way, and they won’t be a stranger for long.”
When addressing the person, use their name as often as possible; when they make a comment, try to rephrase what they are saying in your response to a comment or a question. Both these techniques are signs that you are truly listening — and 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
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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.”
Do you have ideas about make a good first impression or connection? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.