- University of Exeter/Flickr
Within seconds of meeting you, people are already making judgments about your personality.
Are you hireable? Or dateable? How about friendable?
And while it’s technically possible to reverse a bad first impression, it’s not easy. So you’ll want to put your best face forward.
To help you out on that front, we checked out “How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less” by speaker and author Nicholas Boothman. The book highlights a key strategy for making a trusting connection with your conversation partner while greeting them.
The best part? The whole process takes just four seconds. Read on to find out how to become instantly likeable.
Step 1: Be open
Boothman says you’ll want to open both your body and your attitude.
In terms of your body language, Boothman says you should aim your heart directly at the person you’re meeting. Don’t cover your heart with your hands or your arms. And if you’re wearing a jacket, unbutton it beforehand.
It’s equally important to cultivate a positive attitude. While you’re greeting the person, Boothman says you should feel and be aware of that positivity.
Step 2: Make eye contact
Boothman says you should be the one to initiate eye contact, and let your eyes reflect your positive attitude.
If you feel uncomfortable making eye contact, he suggests a strategy for getting used to it: When you’re watching TV, note the eye color of the people on camera and say the name of the color in your head. The next day, do the same thing with every person you meet.
Just make sure to look away at some point – one recent study found that most people preferred eye contact that lasted about three seconds. And no one in the study preferred eye contact that lasted longer than nine seconds.
- David Goehring/Flickr
Step 3: Beam
Boothman advises being the first one to smile. You’ll send the message that you’re sincere.
Research also suggests that smiling when you meet someone in a happy context is a useful way to get them to remember you.
But keep in mind: If you’re employing this strategy in a job interview, consider letting your smile fade after the initial meet-and-greet.
In one study, researchers asked college students to role-play job interviews. They found that students who played candidates for the position of newspaper reporter, manager, and research assistant were less likely to get the hypothetical job when they smiled – especially during the middle of the interviews.
Step 4: Say ‘hello’
Whether you say “hi,” “hey,” or “hello,” or use another salutation, you should sound delighted to be making this person’s acquaintance.
Next, you’ll want to extend your hand. Make sure to give a firm handshake, which generally creates a more positive impression.
When the person you’re meeting gives his or her name, try to repeat it a few times. For example, you might say, “Sara. Nice to meet you, Sara!”
If you’re meeting multiple people and can’t shake everyone’s hand at once, Boothman says it’s possible to conduct a “hands-free” handshake. Do everything you’d normally do while shaking someone’s hand – point your heart in their direction, say hello, and smile – but don’t extend your hand.
Step 5: Lean in
There’s no need to fall over into the person you’re meeting.
Boothman suggests an “almost imperceptible forward tilt” to show that you’re open to and interested in what the person has to say.