Some studies say we have 7 seconds. This is the time from first handshake, to “hello how are you I’m good thank you, and you? I know right? what a gorgeous day!” . It’s over. How did you present yourself in that time? Did you smile? Did you speak clearly? How was your eye contact? What was your posture like? How are your clothes?
It’s so fast because the part of our brains that is making the judgements is pretty primitive. We are talking about the amygdala and the posterior cingular cortex. These are regions of the brain that don’t need your logical, analytical or reasonable thinking. Stimuli goes straight there and provokes fear, memory, association. Value is assigned, judgements formed and that’s that.
On the other hand, does this mean after those first 7 seconds, then we can relax our effort and do something less impressive and it won’t matter? The answer seems to be yes! A big warm strong greeting and then you are a big warm strong person. A clear, fluent well-spoken greeting and you are a clear, fluent, well-spoken person. After that point we just let cognitive dissonance take care of things. ”What’s that?” That is when we twist reality to fit our prejudice; to fit your PRE-JUDGMENT. It’s ok. It’s a short cut to navigate the world. We all do it.
So, let’s work on your first 7 seconds. Let that first sentence flow out effortlessly. Easy on those consonants. Let the breath flow from the diaphragm and carry the smooth deep sound. Your accent here can be perfect. Your posture rooted like a tree. Your eye contact soft and steady.
“hello how are you I’m good thank you, and you? I know right? what a gorgeous day!”