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5 Scientific Ways to Make a Good First Impression

Have you ever heard the phrase “snap judgment”? As it turns out, it may be a whole lot more than an expression.

In fact, it takes people only one-tenth of a second to make a judgment about another person based on his or her facial appearance, according to a 2006 study from Princeton University. Because other people will make quick judgments of you based on your appearance, it’s important (especially in a professional setting) to put forth the image that you want others to see. This means following the age-old advice of dressing appropriately for the occasion, and making sure you look put together and well groomed.

But aside from the obvious — dressing the part — how can you make a better first impression? Here are five scientifically proven ways.

Watch your tone.

“Watch your tone” may sound like a command from a frustrated parent, but it’s actually very important advice for making a good first impression. Just as people will make a snap judgment of you based on your face and appearance, your tone of voice can have a huge impact on what others think of you.

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow in Scotland recorded 32 female undergraduate students and 32 male undergraduates saying the word “Hello” and then played the recordings for 320 different students. Students listening to the recordings were “asked to rank the voice according to 10 personality traits, including trustworthiness, dominance, attractiveness and warmth,” reported.

Women who alternated the pitch of their voices as they spoke were considered more trustworthy by listeners, as were men who raised the tone of their voices, researchers found. And men with lower voices were considered dominant, as were women with higher voices.

Perfect your handshake.

You’ve probably heard this advice before, but shaking hands is such a common activity that you may not realize just how significant it can be. A handshake is usually the first physical interaction you have with another person, so it’s important to make sure that your handshake is on point.

A study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that a handshake can make you seem more approachable and give off a more positive vibe.

Sanda Dolcos, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois’ psychology department and one of the researchers behind the study, said people should “be aware of the power of the handshake.”

“Many of our social interactions may go wrong for [one] reason or another, and a simple handshake preceding them can give us a boost and attenuate the negative impact of possible misunderstandings,” Dolcos said.

But not just any handshake will do — it’s important that your handshake be firm, confident and friendly, the researchers found.

Avoid a video meeting.

If you have the choice between having a meeting or interview in person or through video, you should always choose to meet in person. Why? Because the impression you make over video may automatically be more negative.



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