Research shows that first impressions are formed in just 100 milliseconds, which is practically the blink of an eye! You only get one chance at a first impression – whether it’s with a new boss, colleague, friend or romantic interest, so make it count! Behavioural experts say that it’s about making yourself seem open and approachable, to break down the barriers between you and the other person. Here are some simple things you can do to be more likable!
Smiling not only makes you look friendly, it also makes you look smarter, according to research! Make sure the smile is genuine, though, because people can spot fake smiles from a mile away, and get put off by them.
2. Wear just the right amount of cologne.
People will like you if you smell nice, but don’t go overboard with the cologne. A study conducted at Northwestern University found that people rated others as more likeable if they were accompanied by a pleasant aroma – but only if the aroma was subtle enough for them to not be aware of it. People wearing overpowering perfumes did not get high ratings. So just one or two spritzes should do the trick!
3. Avoid wearing sunglasses.
Communication and body language experts say that sunglasses form a barrier between you and other people, making you look unapproachable and standoffish. If you’re wearing sunglasses, take them off when you’re meeting someone for the first time.
4. Take your dog along.
If you have a dog, take him or her along with you as often as you can. Studies show that dogs make people feel happier, safer, and more relaxed, making them much more likely to like you as well. Having a dog along is also a great way to break the ice and get the conversation going. Be careful, though, if your dog isn’t friendly then you’re probably better off leaving him or her at home!
5. Assume a high-power stance.
If you want to look and feel more confident, assume a high-power stance. Instead of hunching your shoulders and taking up only a tiny bit of space, spread yourself out, straighten your back and shoulders and take up as much space as you can. Research shows that when faced with opposition, people and animals that hunch over appear weak, whereas those that puff themselves up look more confident. In fact, our bodies are wired in such a way that within just two minutes of assuming a high-power stance, your cortisol levels will drop and your testosterone levels will increase, making you feel a lot more confident as well.
6. Avoid crossing your arms.
When you meet someone, keep your hands by your sides, with your palms open and facing towards them if possible. Avoid crossing your arms at all costs, even if you’re feeling cold, because this stance makes you look closed off and unapproachable.
7. Make eye contact.
When you pass people in the hall or on the street, make eye contact with them and either nod or smile. A study found that this makes people feel connected, whereas looking through them – looking at their eye level but not actually making eye contact – makes people feel ostracised and unaccepted.
8. Mimic the other person’s gestures.
Research shows that people are more comfortable with other people who have similar mannerisms as them. So for example, if your boss tends to tilt his head to one side, doing the same thing when you talk to him will make him like you more. You have to do it subtly, however, because being obvious about it will probably backfire.
9. Don’t try to top the other person’s stories with your own.
Studies show that people who make emphatic comments in response to other people’s stories are much better liked than people who try to top the other person’s stories with their own story. The key is to ask thoughtful questions and make sincere empathetic comments.