Strong communication skills are consistently ranked as the #1 skill employers desire in their employees. However, communication is not just about what you say or write. Communication also includes body language, and studies indicate that body language is significantly more important than actual language.
Body language is especially important in a first impression. In a matter of seconds, we automatically size up someone we meet. These initial, subconscious judgments have very powerful consequences on how we are seen in future encounters; it is very challenging to overcome a bad first impression.
Recruiting directors, hiring persons, and senior executives frequently complain to me that most students make very poor first impressions. Here are 4.5 keys on how you can S.H.E.D. this negative stereotype and position yourself the right way:
- SMILE: A genuine smile is inviting and contagious. It conveys friendliness, removes barriers, and encourages others to want to get to know you. A warm smile immediately makes you more likeable!
- HANDSHAKE: A strong handshake conveys confidence and integrity. Having said that, do NOT try to devour the other person’s hand! Just make a nice, firm shake.
- EYE CONTACT: Eye contact also indicates confidence. Upon meeting someone, look them right in the eye for 2-3 seconds and then look away. Like a suffocating handshake, eye contact can also be taken too far. If you look into someone’s eyes for too long, you will make them uncomfortable.
- DRESS. Err on the side of being over-dressed, but dress appropriately and professional for every situation. And, don’t try to make fashion statements! It is better to be conservative than flamboyant.
Bonus tip: Stand up straight and have good posture! Good posture implies confidence as well.
Do you want to S.H.E.D. the negative stereotype associated with most young professionals? When you meet someone for the first time, Smile, deliver a strong (not suffocating) Handshake, make direct Eye contact for 2-3 seconds, Dress appropriately for the situation, and stand up straight! Do this, and you will be seen as confident, likeable, trustworthy, and friendly, 4 traits that will help you get your dream job and help you build better relationships with potential bosses, customers, and colleagues!
-Career Expert and Professional Speaker
-President of Idealize Enterprises
P.S. I speak about career success to students and young professionals nationwide. To learn more about my programs and speaking availability, please email me at Pete@IdealizeNow.com.