I really do believe that self-confidence is something that others are aware of in us. If you’ve got self-confidence, or you don’t, it will show! Others will see it, feel it, and sense it! Even though we may not be able to actually see self- confidence, it is presented in lots of subtle ways to the people around us. When you first meet someone, that person has no way of knowing if you have self-confidence, if you are good at what you do, if you are intelligent, or if you are a good person, etc. Therefore, they rely on cues to help them form opinions about you.
First Impressions Don’t forget…You have only 30 seconds to make a first impression! And if you blow the first impression, it takes approximately 20 additional encounters with that person to undo what you messed up the first time! If you are going to make a good impression on others, you have to know the cues people use to help them form that first impression.
1. Eye Contact This is an indicator of position and reflects a sense of self-confidence. If you don’t look at me, I don’t trust you! If I’m interviewing you for a job and you can’t look at me, you don’t get hired! Of course, you must go by the rules of your culture. If it’s wrong to look your dad in the eye, don’t. But when interviewing for a job, eye-contact is critical.
2. Posture Posture serves as an indicator of position. It’s also important that I lean slightly in toward the person I am greeting. That conveys that I am warm and caring person.
3. Handshake Be sure to grip firmly, putting your thumb firmly around the other person’s hand. Don’t use any “jive” handshakes when you’re really trying to impress someone! At school you can get away with it, but someone working for me better not try it with one of my customers. And folks, don’t overdo a handshake by using two hands like you’re patting them!
Dress and Grooming Dress is a disguise! At home I can dress like a bum, but there are places I can’t go and things I just can’t do if I’m not appropriately dressed. Being properly dressed and groomed opens doors and creates opportunities.
Concerning grooming…take a bath/shower! Wear deodorant and maybe perfume or cologne. Keep you hair combed and have it cut in an appropriate style. I’m going to love you no matter what you look like! But it’s important that you understand the realities of being a successful person. I can love you, but still not hire you!
Facial Expressions In other words…smile! Really successful companies have learned to hire nice people.
Tone of Voice and Word Selection This is extremely important! I want to convey with my voice that I am a warm and caring person, but also, that I know what I’m talking about. You decide what you want to convey to others with your tone of voice.
Level of Relaxation/Stress If you’re up-tight and stressed –out, that will come through to people. You’ll want to act as though you’ve been walking up and introducing yourself to strangers all your life!
Energy Level You want to have a sense of “being alive” about you. You need to be able to show that you’re awake, alert, and ready to go.
Practicing with Adults You need to do it, and they need for you to do it so they can get over their fears of talking to teens! I want you to walk up to teachers, principals, and other adults in the community this week and practicing using these cues. Just as athletes or musicians have to practice in order to improve their skills and abilities, so we must practice these skills.
If you don’t tend to these things before you go out for a job interview…then don’t expect to get the job! If you don’t tend to these things before you go out for a job interview…then don’t expect to get the job! If you don’t tend to these things before you go for a promotion at your job…then don’t expect to get the promotion! If you don’t tend to these things before you go make a sales call on a customer…then don’t expect to get the sale! However, if you can learn to make a good first impression and effectively use these cues, opportunities will open up for you that you never dreamed were possible before!