Secrets of making a positive first impression

Obviously, we have only one opportunity to make a positive first impression. Are there any “secrets”? Yes. Expects agree on these:

The impact initial face-to-face contact

Determined by appearance and body language: 40-50%

Tone of voice and eye contact: 30-40%

What is said: remaining %

The most highly-regarded “headhunters” insist that they can evaluate most job candidates they meet with before they actually begin the formal interview process.

The “60-Second Miracle”

Let’s say you meet someone for the first time in a social situation. The person asks, “What do you do?”

“Lots of people have problems with [fill in the blank]. I solve them.”

Most of the time, the person then asks, “What kinds of problems?”

Select one that is most common. That should prompt the question, “How do you solve it?”  Reply confidently but not arrogantly with a single declarative sentence that suggests how.

All this should take no more than a minute. More often than not, the person will then request card.

Katherine Hansen is an expert on “career-propelling stories. In Tell Me About Yourself, she suggests what to avoid:

• Talking for too long or rambling

• Telling stories that are irrelevant to the given job

• Lying or exaggerating

• Omitting sensory details with a bit of color

• Neglecting to conclude the story with a single-sentence insight, lesson, etc.

Here’s what she does suggest:

• Begin with “just one story” that captures/reveals your essence

• Show how you use your talents when tested or challenged

• Select a story that reinforces your personal brand (e.g. as a problem solver)

• Communicate your passion and personality

• Briefly explain how you developed or sharpened a key characteristic that has proven to be invaluable

• Cite examples of how you have dealt well with change and helped others through it

• If (and only if) there is one, tell a story in which you saved or helped to save the day

I presume to add this observation: Most people you meet for the first time have the attention span of a strobe light blink.

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