In the business world, a good first impression is crucial. It primes how you’re seen and how you’re responded to. The reason why the first impression is so powerful is that the human brain judges information sequentially, according to Arthur Dobrin, a researcher in the science of first impressions.
"The exaggerated impact of first impressions is related to the halo effect," he says, "that phenomenon whereby the perception of positive qualities in one thing or part gives rise to the perception of similar qualities in related things or in the whole.”
You have seven measly seconds (some say less) to exude trustworthiness and competence during a first meeting. Research demonstrates bad first impressions are not only tough to shake, but also have the tendency to create a self-fulfilling feedback loop. Meaning, if you make a poor first impression on someone, then you’ll be on the receiving end of aloof or unfriendly behavior in turn. You are more likely to reciprocate this aloof behavior, reinforcing the person’s initial bad impression. (On the flip side, the same goes for good first impressions.)
There is good news: Because first impressions are so important, there is a rich body of research on what verbal and non-verbal cues go into making a good first impression. While there are certain elements simply out of our control -- such as the faces we were born with -- there are five elements very much within our purview.
To nail a good first impression, check out this short list of what to do.