When a woman walks into a room with a straight face and no visible signs of elated emotion, she is immediately dubbed as having a RMF, otherwise known as the Resting Mean Face. People do not find her to be approachable and will rarely give her the benefit of the doubt . Men, on the other hand, are seen as confident or “hard to read” if they have a poker face and no one refers to them as mean. We can’t change people’s perception of a woman’s Resting Mean Face but we can become aware of our body language which, along with tone, accounts for 93% of how others perceive you before you finish your first sentence. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to convey confidence through positive body language.
When you walk into a room you have less than ten seconds to make a good impression. People will decide whether they trust you and want to have a conversation with you within the first ten seconds of your interaction. This impression is often formed before you say a word. So how can you make a strong first impression? Here are some tips that will not fail:
- Shake hands
I have spoken to women who say that shaking hands seems too formal. This is not the case. When you shake someone’s hand you send a message of confidence and communicate that you are pleased to meet the person.
- Make and maintain eye contact
Look the person in the eye when you are speaking and when they speak to you.
If you have a wandering eye, whether it be to follow the server carrying your favorite appetizer or to recognize another person you want to say hello to, it is important to stay focused on the current conversation. By looking directly at someone you convey a genuine interest in what the other person has to say and you make them feel good.
I can’t say enough about the importance of a smile when making a first impression. Some people naturally smile all the time. Whether their smile stems from a general sense of happiness or natural energy when entering a room, their smile puts people at ease. When you smile it displays confidence. Who doesn’t want to surround themselves with the happiest person in the room?
- Stand tall We were all told to “stand up straight” when we were in grade school. That was probably a health-related issue but posture is key to delivering a positive first impression. If you are hunched over or speak with shoulders sagging, you communicate a lack of self-confidence. So stand tall, shake hands, make eye contact and smile and collectively these actions will convey a very positive impression so much more than words.
Denise Rosenblum is the President and Founder of Dynamic Development, a training company that specializes in developing employees to become stronger communicators, managers and leaders. Denise works with companies to create an environment where employees feel valued as a result of career development, training, feedback and coaching.
Denise has over 30 years of professional development and marketing experience having worked at global companies including McCann Erickson, Young and Rubicam, Hill Holliday and Arnold Worldwide.
Denise is a seasoned trainer, speaker, executive coach and an expert in communication skills, customer service and management and leadership
development. She has excellent insight into people’s strengths and opportunities for growth.
In her current role, as President of Dynamic Development, Denise has an extensive track record of building successful managers and leaders. Her areas of expertise include:
- Executive leadership and management coaching
- Identifying communication styles and how/where to flex your style
- Providing talent assessment evaluations to company leadership
- Building business through relationships and excellent client service
- Performance management and giving constructive feedback
- Developing and delivering successful and engaging presentations
- Conducting efficient and productive meetings
- Time management and prioritization