Here’s a revealing stat to start the New Year: Not only do you have but one chance to make a first impression. You only have seconds to make it. It’s that quick.
Dating, job interview, party encounter, coffee shop, friend-of-a-friend no matter how long you have when meeting someone new, they’re making an almost immediate judgment about you.
And truth be told, if you’re honest about it, you’re doing the same.
The new survey of 2,000 Americans was trying to determine what assumptions people make when meeting someone for the first time, why they do that and how long that process takes.
Turns out, there are only a few crucial factors to making a good first impression. People scan and process them quite quickly. And on average you only have 27 seconds to make them work for you. Or get caught out. No pressure there, right?
Top readings involve whether you’re smiling, if you’re a good listener and if you’re polite. Two other contributing factors to a good impression are also extremely important: Whether you make eye contact (my Dad told me about that one many years ago) and — wait for it — how you smell.
Interestingly, fully 85 percent said a person’s smell was very important in making personal judgments. But then only 68 percent said they pay much attention to their own scent.
Confidence also seems important. More than eight-of-ten say they’re likely to have a positive impression of someone if they appear confident.
And while listening is a big deal, talking is apparently not. Nearly three-quarters of the poll’s respondents said they make a judgment about a new acquaintance before that person utters even one word.
Sixty percent say they make judgments about new encounters faster on a date than in other social occasions. And after just a quarter-hour during a date, they claim they already know if they want a second one. Just think of all the marriages, families and babies that aren’t because of such split-second judgments, that may or may not be accurate.
Unexpectedly, the poll also found it took longer than a half-hour for a majority to decide if they were going to marry the new person. (No, I made that up — in only two seconds.)