It takes just two seconds for someone to form a first impression of you.
That means you've got just two seconds come across in the right way, which is vital if you're in an important situation like a job interview or first date.
In fact, some studies show that only 7 per cent of communication comes from the words we say, and the rest all comes from our body language.
A recent survey found that 18 per cent of us form an opinion of someone before they've even spoken and one in three of us decide if we like someone within just a few minutes.
So how can we make those first few moments count?
Speaking to launch pizza company GoodFella's Made With Respect Campaign, featuring the silent but powerful 'Godmother', body language expert India Ford has shared her tips to making the right first impression.
Meeting someone new at work – a new colleague or a client
A handshake is a very important part of business etiquette so it's very important to get it right.
India says: "Our levels of confidence and credibility are assessed (subconsciously) on the quality of our handshake.
"So it’s imperative we get it right first time, because a weak handshake will instantly destroy your credibility, making you appear fragile and passive, while a confident handshake will immediately help elevate your levels of confidence and credibility.
"As you walk towards the other person, make eye contact (making effective eye contact instantly sends a message of high confidence) smile, extend your arm and approach with your palm in a vertical position, make palm-to-palm contact while matching the pressure of the other person’s handshake and shake 2-3 times.
"This handshake will immediately help to elevate your perceived levels of confidence, credibility and competence."
Tip – Always try to carry just one bag, this ensures your right hand is always free, ready to shake – and you don’t have to throw in a quick juggling act before you’re about to deliver the hand shake.
Appearing confident at parties
Walking into a party can be tough, especially if you don't know most of the people.
India says: "Our body language has the power to amplify our presence in any situation.
"The way you walk, stand, sit and make eye contact can super-boost your image when walking into a room full of people. The good news is that anyone can learn how to use their body language to inject that elusive ‘it-factor energy’ into their image.
"Ever wondered how A-list celebrities seem to effortlessly captivate everyone as soon as they walk into a room? It’s all down to posture! Good posture is the foundation of a powerful image. It will instantly help you appear more confident, graceful and alluring."
Tip – Imagine you’re trying to squeeze an orange between your shoulder blade. Doing this will immediately pull your shoulders back and down, instantly improving your posture. It’s all about the back and shoulders, a small tweak, just a millimeter back and down will make all the difference.
Tip – The way in which you ‘hold’ your body will also dictate how you expect to be treated. Imagine you’re wearing an invisible crown as you walk into a party or social gathering, this will help to keep your head and body perfectly aligned – ‘if you walk like a VIP you’ll be treated like one’.
Meeting new people – the perfect smile
India says: "When meeting new people a smile is essential because it creates a great first impression.
"Confident people naturally smile more and are perceived as being more engaging, positive, interesting and happier – all very attractive traits.
"What’s even more amazing is that the smile not only impact how others perceive you, but it also has an impact on your inner emotional state because when we smile the body releases serotonin and endorphins – the happy hormones, which naturally makes us feel more confident, happier and relaxed.
Tip – Inject warmth and confidence into your persona by walking in with a relaxed, gentle smile.You don’t have to look like a 70’s game show host flashing a 100 watt pair of gnashers! Just simply turning up the corners of your mouth around half an inch will instantly make you appear more confident, happier and approachable and younger! Practice in front of the mirror, and get ready to flash your perfect social smile and activate those serotonins to make you look and feel more confident, happy and relaxed.
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