Face It

A recent Wall Street Journal article by Sue Shellenbarger cited how quickly impressions are made. She presented various techniques that professionals employ to engineer a positive impression. Unfortunately, if you happen to look like someone's least favorite grade school teacher, you lose. But there are many things within our control. According to Shellenbarger, people exhibiting a happy expression, with the corners of their mouth turned up, and their eyebrows relaxed, create trust more quickly. Conversely, if your dominant face is grumpy, disapproving, or angry, you are perceived as untrustworthy.

Physically, when you square off to someone, don't cover any body parts and maintain a respectful distance, you also engender trust. And if your voice is neither too loud or too soft, your chances of a good impression are improved.

Many of us are blissfully unaware of how we are perceived. For example, we may believe our intellect and experience will carry the day. However, once a narrative is established, and that happens in a heartbeat, confirmation bias sets in. And if you are initially seen as untrustworthy, the die is cast. Rehearse your physical gestures, so that you always appear open, warm and welcoming. This is the best way to ensure positive reviews.

(Our thanks to Arthur A. Greenberg for this week's tip idea.)

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