How to Nail Your First Impression
So, I'm gonna pick up where Jordan left off, alright, he started talking a little bit about nonverbals and I also wanna teach you guys, how to have effective communication when networking, Obviously we know, when meeting people it's important that we actually talk. And in teaching this for 10 years now, dealing with clients who are introverted, who have some social anxiety, we've realized that there's some very simple ways that we can manufacture conversation on the fly, and overcome some of those hiccups we have when we get nervous. So, I wanna start things out by talking about that first impression, right? Jordan gave you a little taste of that and growing up my dad told me, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So, of course, that made even more nervous, right? How do I nail that first impression? And he did what any father would do and said, you've gotta shake their hand and look them in the eye, right? So, of course, that was in my head, oh, I need to make sure...
that I walk up to people and I shake their hand properly. Well, in reality, the first impression starts before you actually introduce yourself to someone. As Jordan said, that first impression starts the moment people see us. Not when we are actually shaking their hands. So, your first impression is made up of four basic components. And we have a worksheet here that I love for you guys to follow along with, and I like to think of these components of your first impression, like a pyramid. So the base of your first impression is what we like to call Static. That is the foundation of our first impression. If we think about that word, Static, right? It means unchanging, not moving. So, what about me up here is not gonna be changing next week, next month, next year? It's my looks, right? So your looks matter, it is very important to understand that looks do set the tone for that first impression. Now, I'm not gonna beat myself up because I don't look like George Clooney, so I wanna maximize my Static. And there's really three ways that we can maximize our looks in this foundation. And that is, eating right, right? Your nutrition is important. If I woke up this morning and I went to McDonald's to eat some breakfast, I'd probably be a little sluggish today coming here, a little out of energy and you would notice that on my first impression, so making sure that we eat well, so that we present ourselves as healthy as possible to the world, right? When we eat well, it shows that we care about ourselves. Now, the second thing we can do is, of course, exercise, right? Taking care of your body, and a great part about exercise is that actually stimulates some neurotransmitters and hormones that will help make us more social. So, when it comes to exercise, the first hormone that we are gonna stimulate is testosterone. So how would testosterone help us when it comes to talking to people, right? It seems a little unusual but testosterone actually makes you less risk adverse. So you're actually gonna be braver, you're gonna feel more confident walking into that room, you're gonna be more willing to approach someone and talk to them. And then there's two important neurotransmitters that get stimulated when we exercise. And that is serotonin and dopamine. These enhance our mood and they allow us to find our words easier, so that we can actually converse. When we're nervous, it's difficult to find our words, so, exercise can stimulate the body to perform better when it comes to that first impression. And then, lastly, sleep. And here in western culture, for the most part we celebrate people who don't sleep as much, right? Pull all nighters, burn the candle at both ends, four cups of coffee in the morning, three hours of sleep at night. But it actually does damage to your health, and it doesn't allow you to present yourself properly, which is obviously important on that first impression. So, on that foundation of our looks, let's talk about the second component, which Jordan touched on earlier, and that is Dynamic, right? That's movement, that is your body language. How do you present yourself with nonverbals. People will begin to notice you the second you walk in the room. Not on that handshake. So, it is important, as Jordan said, to make sure that when we enter the room, we enter the room confidently. And that's what that doorway drill is all about. Standing up tall, rolling the shoulders back and putting a smile on your face. And as you guys saw here in studio as us getting ready to go, cameras about to roll, I did that exact thing. Not it's subconscious, I don't have to think about it, it's become habit, but it is important to realize that that impression starts as we enter the doorway. The third component here, that is Presentation. Now, that is all about how we style ourselves and how we groom ourselves. The clothes you wear send a message to the world. And we know when our self-esteem is down, we are not feeling ourselves, what's the first thing that goes out the window? It's our grooming, right? We throw on some sweat pants, oh, I don't need to shave today or brush my teeth, and that is a strong signal that's sent out to the world, that, oh, A.J. doesn't really care about himself so, why should I take notice. But we do take notice of those people who are dressed sharp, right? Who enter the room with presence, all base on their style. So, I wanna give you some quick tips when it comes to style. So, things to keep in mind. The most important thing is fit. You want to be wearing clothes that fit you. Even if you don't feel like you are in the best shape, you don't feel like you love the way you look, clothes that hide your body do not send the right signal on that first impression. So, when it comes to clothes that fit, we should be wearing pants that do not require a belt to stay up. Pretty obvious, so when you're trying on clothes you want your pants to fit, and then a very simple rule of thumb for your shirt, it's just take your finger, run it along your clavicle here, this is the bone on your shoulder, you're gonna feel a little ridge here, you want the seem of your shirt to fall right on that ridge. That means that your shirt is actually fitting you properly. So you're presenting yourself properly to the world. Grooming is very important. As I said, when we're not really feeling it, we skip out on grooming. So, for guys, I like to recommend, making sure that even if you're wearing facial hair, that it's trimmed neatly, that there are clean lines, that it's obvious that you're taking care of that beard. Not letting grow unruly. And I recommend keeping you hair trimmed, nice and neat, keeping it off the ears, making sure that, again, we're presenting ourselves properly, we're sending the right message to the world. And now the fourth component that I wanna talk about, at the very top of the pyramid, that a lot of us just rarely think about is Incidental. And this component is all about your location, and surroundings. So, where we stand at that networking event, at that mixer, or even at the bar, sends a strong signal to the room. As a former introvert myself, I loved to be that wall flower, right? Hide in the dark corner, making sure that the bar wall stay up all night, but, no one can see me, and if they can't see me I cannot possibly make that first impression. So, at The Art of Charm we teach to stand comfortably in high traffic areas. So if you are at a networking event, what's a high traffic area? Well, as we saw today it's where the coffee is, right? It's where the donuts are, so, hang out around that table. There's gonna be a lot of people moving around and if you're sending the right signals with your body language, you're wearing the right clothes, you're feeling good, people are gonna notice you and they're gonna start conversations with you. What are our surroundings while we're out? Well, that's the people we are with, that's our friends. Who you hang out with says a lot about you and it could also send the wrong messages, right? If I showed up hear today and everyone else in AOC crew is just like this, uninterested, not wanting to be here as you guys walked in, would you be excited to learn from us? No, you would be turned off, you would be like, what's this guy's problem? So, understanding that, yeah, who you're hanging out with in the way they present themselves in the world does have an impact on your first impression. So, in your notebooks, I want you guys to think about these four components, and what can we do, just one simple thing for each one of them, to present ourselves more effectively on that first impression.