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The Importance of the First Impression

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it takes around 7 seconds to make a first impression. This first impression can determine how someone else will perceive you and make assumptions of your personality and if they can like, trust and respect you.

Have you thought about how you come across to someone else in those first 7 seconds and the type of first impression that you make?

In the Real Estate industry where first impressions are the order of the day, it is important that you are aware of the impression that you give to others as it could be the deal maker or deal breaker when it comes to something as important as beginning a relationship with a client and gaining a new listing.

There are two ways in which your message is delivered and these are through either verbal or non-verbal cues. Research has also found that non-verbal cues are four times more likely to influence a first impression than verbal cues.

When we are using verbal cues, it is a great tool to train yourself in the mind to mouth filter, the one where you think about what you are going to say before you actually say it. This filter can save you more often than not in a social situation.

In honing your non-verbal think about a few keys factors:

  • Posture and attitude – standing straight and tall and making eye contact can signal confidence and form a connection, while hunching your shoulders and looking down at the ground constantly can signal lack of self confidence. Also consider your attitude and how that may come across in those first moments. Are you confrontational or do you stand back a little and fall back into yourself?
  • Smile! – never underestimate the power of a smile. Smiling can signal that you are friendly and approachable and also helps to boost endorphins which is why we can often feel great when we really smile or even laugh. So why not pass that on!
  • Shake hands – this is one of the fastest ways that you can gain rapport with someone. Although it’s an idea to practice those handshaking skills! There is nothing worse than having your little hand crushed in a vice like grip of death or being given the “limp fish shake”. Your hand shake will also reflect your personality so it’s worthwhile thinking about what type of shaker you are.

When you are analysing your first impression style, ask your friends or co-workers their impression of you to gain some feedback on where you may be able to improve and, you might even like to use them as guinea pigs when you are trialling and testing how you connect with others and perfect your first impression skills.

Heidi Walkinshaw

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