25 Apr 7 seconds to success
We all know how important time is. It is the most precious commodity we will ever own and something which we all have – some in abundance and sadly, some in limited amounts.
The true value of time lies within each of us individually. The way in which we give, share and spend our time will ultimately determine its worth in our lives.
Sometimes we charge for our time, sometimes we offer it to others (even strangers) free of charge. We give time to those we love and as importantly, sometimes we give it back to ourselves.
But have you ever considered the importance of time in a make or break situation? As a free commodity which has the capacity to create an outcome with immeasurable impact on your future (positive or negative) depending upon how you utilise it.
Mastered correctly, an amount of time as small as 7 seconds can produce an outcome resulting in a long-lasting relationship, a successful business transaction, a converted deal, that dream job you’ve always wanted, a beautiful everlasting friendship or it could end right there and nothing further will transpire.
Scientific research has proven that we generally have no more than 7 seconds to make a memorable first impression.
That’s not a lot of time, right?
So let’s look at what we can do to improve and master that first 7 seconds when meeting a client, a customer, a date, a new acquaintance or a new boss or business affiliate. Pretty much any situation that you find yourself in which involves meeting someone new can be the most important 7 seconds of your life.
People will decide during this limited timeframe whether they like you, trust you and want to do business with you, so it is CRUCIAL that you choose your actions, energy & voice carefully.
Because once they’ve formed a negative opinion of you it is very difficult to turn that around. In fact, it’s almost impossible.
So you have to ensure that you put your focus and energy into nailing this first & foremost to convert more, engage more and connect more.
There are a number of aspects to mastering initial meetings. And it’s not likely what most people think nor do they always do it.
Often when we meet someone new, especially if you’re an introvert (then again, extroverts do it too) we over-speak. We think we have to fill a gap, to create an impression by exhibiting our knowledge.
The truth is, you could be saying that the sky is green and the grass is blue.
What you say only forms approximately 7% of a first impression.
It’s way more important to engage the senses – sight, smell, touch, sound & taste.
Just kidding, we shouldn’t be tasting people within 7 seconds of meeting them!
But seriously, below I have provided some tips on what you SHOULD be doing.
Before you even reach the person you’re meeting, have a big, bright smile on your face and do not let it go. A smile is infectious, contagious and the best introductory offering you have. It is welcoming, happy, inviting and warm and it will instantly make them feel good. Studies show that your trustworthy levels improve and you’re more likeable when you smile.
Make and retain eye contact
As they say, the eyes are the windows to the soul and it is how we communicate without words. You can learn a lot about a person by looking directly into their eyes, especially during times of uncertainty, conflict, celebration and introduction. It allows you to connect on a deeper level and initiates trust, honesty and transparency and it helps to keep the other person focused and engaged with you. Never greet someone whilst still looking at your phone, down at the ground, at an OFI sheet, over their shoulder etc.. EVER.
Eye contact displays sincerity and trust.
Start with Empathy
Displaying empathy improves the connection you’re looking for, helping to build the relationship. If you show that you appreciate them right away, by thanking them for their time spent meeting with you, you are displaying to them your awareness that their time is valuable and that you’re not going to waste it.
Empathy combined with the right body language sets you up for success.
Give your full attention
If you’re distracted and your focus is elsewhere, if you’ve had a bad day and you’re carrying negative energy, they will sense that in you very quickly. Before an important greeting, take a little time to shake everything negative that you’re feeling off, clear your mind, take some deep breaths and focus on a successful and positive outcome before you go near them! Visualise the way you want the meeting to go, with the outcome you want and a positive result etched clearly in your mind.
Your energy speaks louder than your words.
This one is a little harder post-COVID but it’s still possible to display & share touch in some capacity, whether it’s a shake of the hand, a touch on the shoulder as you introduce yourself, a small tough on the back to invite them to go before you. Touch is another big tick in creating connection. Leaning in slightly to embrace the conversation wholeheartedly is also a great way to show your interest in what they have to say.
Matching & Mirroring
We’ve all heard of this but how well do you understand and engage in it? If done in a subtle, natural way, this helps put you in tune with the other person, basically so that you’re on the same wavelength. Mirroring movement & action, walking in sync, breathing in sync, matching the tonality of voice and speech velocity is also very crucial to engaging effectively. But this only works if you’re also accurately reading the vibe of the room, their body language, their energy and adjusting your pitch accordingly.
Adjust your attitude positively to suit the situation.
Straighten your posture, walk up proudly & with purpose
Smile & make eye contact as above
Use your facial features, show your emotion
Inflection in your tone
This also features hugely and is way more important than the words you speak.
Be vibrant, confident (but definitely not arrogant!) clear and relaxed in your tone. Don’t rush your words, be animated and let your energy, enthusiasm, excitement, empathy and honesty shine through! Nobody likes a droner and a monotone, too soft, rushed or brash conversation and greeting will instantly put people off.
Our brains make a thousand computations during the first 7 seconds.
We can do all this in 7 seconds, can’t we?
This simple (or not) tip to creating an amazing first impression can be the game-changer you need to convert more business, find more clients, impress that special person you’re hoping to meet and literally bring you way more opportunity.
If people like you, trust you and believe in you, they’ll want to do business with you. Regardless of your fee or anything else you use as a reason why you didn’t get the result you wanted.
An unforgettable first impression will create outcomes which will provide long lasting and powerful relationships.
Business is not all about the numbers – it’s more about how you make people feel.