The impression you make in the first 5 seconds is very important. We like to think that others will give us time to really get to know us. And, whilst it is true that most people like to think they aren’t judgemental and wouldn’t label or put people inside a box – judgement is instinctual.

There are a lot of studies and different theories and methodologies on first impressions.  One of those is called the Thin Slicing Methodology.  This was created by Bernieri and it looks at which information transfers from one person to another during those first few glances – the “thin slice” of time.

Have you ever purposely avoided someone when walking down the street?  You might have felt them walking behind you and just didn’t get a very good feeling so you decided to cross over the road. Or, maybe you were in a shop with someone and didn’t like their vibe, so you left.

In these moments you are using your ability to thin slice. Your instinct & gut is telling you that that there is something to be avoided here.

Part of listening to our intuition and gut is tapping in to what we have learnt previously and applying that to the current situation.

You may find that you feel more threatened by group of people who look a certain way.  Who exhibit a certain kind of behaviour that historically you have found to be threatening. This signs cause us to trust somebody or not.

Trust isn’t the only category, there are more that we analyse within the first few seconds.  Here are some of them now.

  1. Trustworthiness
  2. Your Status
  3. Sexuality
  4. Intelligence
  5. Success
  6. Dominance
  7. Promiscuous
  8. Adventurous

As we go through this categories we are working out how “alike” the person is to us in each of these areas.

The more similar we are to another person, the deeper the resonance and so the more we tend to like & trust them.  This is called the similarity attraction hypothesis and is a cognitive processing phenomenon not an analytical skill.

So, how do we make sure that the people we want to attract into our life like & trust us? It is important that we appear both in the way we dress and in our body language like those we want in our life.

For example, if you are representing your business in a formal meeting and want to attract a high paying contract, dress appropriately.   The Psychology around the sale is just as important as the product or service you are delivering.

Wearing symbols of success help others to immediately feel that you are already successful and can help them achieve that same success.  Success breeds more success. Wearing a Rolex watch is a very good way to show potential clients that you have reached a certain level of status.

Pair that watch with a well tailored suit, smart & trendy but not overly formal. Dress as if you are already successful and don’t really need the business.  Look polished, professional but not overly formal and overdone.

If you need help with your wardrobe consider hiring a personal shopper.  Dress well and you have won half the battle. The other half is using positive body language to ensure your potential clients feel that they can trust you.

Read this article for more on using positive body language.


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