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First impressions take seven seconds

Carol Kinsey Goman has The Seven-Second Advantage in the April 2008 AMA Moving Ahead Newsletter that talks about first impressions and how to improve them.

In about seven seconds you've already decided whether you like the person or not. Sure, your opinion may change once you get to know him better, but that first impression will linger for a long time.

I've heard variations on the seven seconds time (5 seconds; 10 seconds), but the principle is the same.  People do judge books by the cover, so my job is to make my own "book" appear pleasing -- assuming I want to get along with my acquaintances. 

My first pass on this is always: make eye contact and smile!  Even when I am just walking through the halls, a simple smile is so much lighter than a grimace or I'm-in-a-hurry-stare.  (Or a I-haven't-had-coffee-yet glaze.)  Having just attended my first company User Conference, I could see this seven-second principle in action.  And I am sure it was happening with others.

Goman provides six tips to making a good impression in that first seven seconds.  Read the full article to see her comments, and her thoughts on what to do after that connection is made.

  1. Adjust your attitude.
  2. Smile.
  3. Make eye contact.
  4. Raise your eyebrows.
  5. Shake hands.
  6. Lean in slightly.

I suspect this article is a lead-in to Goman's new book on the secrets of body language at work.

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