The research on first impressions and body language is evolving, but establishing trust is key, said Amy Cuddy, author of “Presence.” Her TED talk on body language has been viewed more than 45 million times.
“Trustworthiness is the most important quality. It accounts for about 65 percent of the overall variance in how we judge other people. And that’s because it does answer the most important question: Is this person friend or foe?” she explained.
In Cuddy’s experience, impression management techniques don’t work very well, so it’s best to just be yourself. Be in the moment and be strong.
“Do not allow yourself to shrink… Because basically, what you’re doing is protecting yourself like a scared animal that’s being chased by a predator. You are not being chased by a predator. You’re just in an awkward situation,” she said.
Slow down your breathing, pull your shoulders back and down, stand up straight and firmly plant your feet on the ground, Cuddy advised. Prevent yourself from going into a “powerlessness death spiral” because it’s very hard to get out of once you start going into fight-or-flight mode.
“If you’re carrying yourself in a way that’s powerful and proud, you’re saying to yourself, ‘I’m safe. I’m OK. I deserve to be here.’ And that is what comes across,” Cuddy said. “So I often tell people to not manage the impression they’re making on others, but to focus on the impression they’re making on themselves.”
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TODAY – Published on Jan. 15, 2018