By Isabella Barron, Asilinn Foutz, Jenna Gordon, and Ryan Hedgepeth
- Look the Part; It Turns Out People Do Judge a Book by Its Cover
If it’s your first time meeting someone, what kind of personality judgments might you make if they’re well-dressed in a nice suit or if they’re rocking sweatpants and a stained shirt? As it turns out, when you first encounter someone, the first information they have readily available about you in order to form an impression is based on your physical appearance. Like it or not, people often make judgments about your physical appearance to infer various personality traits (and you’re probably guilty of it, too). In fact, according to this study there are even some specific physical appearance cues that often relate to specific personality traits. For example, as you might even expect, some studies have shown that wearing glasses can lead to people perceiving you as more intelligent - something to keep in mind for your next job interview!
- Your First May Be Your Last
First impressions typically persist, even in the presence of contradictory information. Once your first impression is made, you can’t take it back or change it - for better or for worse. So it’s important to know that no matter how nice and wonderful of a person you are, one bad first encounter can have a lasting impact on the way people perceive you. Research shows that people tend to pay more attention to information they receive first, and often they will even discredit the validity of information they receive later. So, always put your best foot forward! Even though first impressions are not completely irrevocable, they do matter.
- Rehearse Your Behaviors
Practice makes perfect and nobody wants to embarrass themselves; so, what do we do before meeting a new date or in the weeks before starring in a new play? We rehearse in order to know what to do, and, more importantly, what not to do. These social scripts are learned as we gain life experience. According to research, someone who goes out to eat weekly much more likely to know what behaviors are acceptable, expected even, than someone who only goes out a few times a year.
- Stay on Your Best Behavior
Via Entertainment Weekly
President Lincoln once said, “I do not like that man. I must get to know him better.” Ever run into a stranger on a bad day and thought they must just be a horrible person? You’re not alone. As found in a Georgia State University experiment, we tend to think the worst when things don’t meet our expectations especially when someone doesn’t appear to be part of our “in-group”.
- Actions do Speak Louder Than Words
Body language is the language of all cultures. As hard as some people try to hide their true emotions in what they are saying, their nonverbal behaviors tend to reveal their true feelings. A simple head nod or shake of the head can confirm or deny a person’s feelings about something without them even noticing. To make a good first impression, be very aware of your actions. If you are trying to get someone to like you, have your body agree with what you are saying. If your body language is confirming what you are saying, and also what the other person is saying, they are more likely to have a positive first impression of you. Research shows that people notice your body language even if they are not doing so consciously.
- Your First Real Meeting May Not Be Your First Impression
With all the new technology, people often know you before they even meet you. What you say on social media can significantly impact how people perceive you. People tend to not think twice about what they post online, not realizing that it is usually free to the public. You never know who is going to see what you post, and it can play a strong role in how people think of you before they even meet you. To make a good first impression, only say things on social media that you would be okay saying in person. A good trick for this, is to think about how you would feel if your grandmother saw your social media. If you would feel uncomfortable, it is probably wise to not post it. Research has shown that people tend to create strong first impressions based off of social media accounts, especially in more recent times, now that people are first becoming acquainted online.
- Always Use Your Time Wisely
When it comes to making a good first impression you are not always aware of how long this interaction will last. Research has shown that when we meet someone within the first 5 seconds we have already constructed some type of personal impression of that person. This unconscious act is known as thin slicing. Surprisingly someone’s impression of you within the first 5 seconds is more accurate than you would think, but the study also shows that the thin slicing accuracy of a person’s judgement of you increases during a 5 minute encounter. So when it comes to making a good first impression try to put yourself in a situation that allows you the most time possible to prove yourself, and always make every second count!
8. Your Face Says it All
Studies have shown that the first impressions of people’s personalities are often formed by the visual appearance of their face. It is believed that when you meet/see a person for the first time the facial expression that you are wearing during the encounter will automatically have influence on what someone thinks about your personality. For example: if you’re having a bad day and carry an expression on your face that reflects that, someone who doesn't know you will possibly forever judge you as “the person with the bad attitude.” It is always important when making a good first impression to be aware of your facial signals even if it doesn’t exactly reflect how you’re feeling inside at that very moment.