Some say that we have 90 seconds to make a good impression on someone. So how can you take this to your advantage?
Closed body language such as crossed arms or turning your body away from the person you’re talking to may indicate frustration, impatience and nervousness. These signals could obviously leave a bad impression.
This in mind, author Nicholas Boothman recommends open body language. This means exposing your heart and body during interactions to show others that you’re both willing and enthusiastic to communicate with them. Examples of open body language include standing with your heart facing the person you’re talking to, having your hands by your side exposing your chest and leaning slightly towards them.
Synchronising yourself to others increases your likability as others feel more capable to empathise with you. But how can you do it?
To synchronise with others, you need to discreetly modify your tone of voice, facial expressions and body language to match the other person. For example, if they seem on the quiet side, using a quieter voice means they’ll be more likely to take in what you have to say than if you’re loud.
Ask the Right Questions
Studies have shown that people feel great when talking about themselves. And so, questions beginning with words like ‘Do you…’ and ‘Have you…’ that require ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ as an answer are not the best conversation starters. Although easy to ask, their simplicity risks shutting people down and could ruin your opportunity to make a good impression.
This in mind, it’s better to ask open questions. These tend to encourage your conversational partner to feel important and do what they like best- talk about themselves. To do this, simply begin questions with words like ‘Who’, ‘Where’, ‘What’, ‘How’ and ‘Why’. Rather than saying “Do you come here often?” for example, you could say ‘How come you decided to come here?”
Too often, people prioritise what they want to say over what the other person has said. This of course leaves a bad impression as the conversational partner may feel frustrated and overlooked for not being taken into account.
This in mind, it’s important to listen actively to the other person. To show you’re listening, try making eye contact for no more than three seconds at a time and nod to show you agree with what’s being said. Be careful not to interrupt them and respond enthusiastically to what they say.
For example, if someone says. “I love living in London but my partner got a promotion and now we may go to Hong Kong”, you could say, “Wow, that seems like a stressful decision to make. How are you going to decide where to live?”