It’s nerve-wracking enough to message someone online.
But then to meet them in person?
You can always put your best foot forward online. You can think about what you want to say before you type it. You can post that one photo (out of the dozens you took) that flatters you in every way.
None of that matters once he meets you.
Once he meets you, he’ll form an impression of you that you’re powerless to change.
So how do you make sure it’s the RIGHT impression?
That’s what behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards studies.
She uses science to break down the practical skills of communicating charisma, leadership, and confidence.
And she’s discovered 3 unexpected techniques that will ensure you’ll make a memorable first impression.
First Impression Hack #1:
Don’t worry about what you say.
What you say really doesn’t matter.
What matters is your body language.
Van Edwards analyzed hundreds of hours of TED talks to find out why some talks went viral while others went unnoticed. She discovered that viewers rated the talks the same, regardless of whether they watched them with the sound ON or OFF.
She even discovered the secret to exceptional body language:
It’s all in the hands.
Your hands are the first thing people notice about you. No, they’re not noticing whether you have a manicure or not! They’re looking to see whether your hands are out in the open or hidden behind your back.
Throughout human history, the first thing anyone wanted to know about an approaching stranger was whether they were safe or not. If the stranger’s hands were hidden, they might be carrying a weapon. If the stranger’s hands were visible, it was a sign they were coming in peace.
So make sure your hands are out in the open when you meet him for the first time. Don’t shove your hands in your pockets or clasp them behind your back.
And, wherever possible, do your talking with your hands. The more expressive your hands, the more memorable he’ll find you.
First Impression Hack #2:
Smile only when you mean it.
Van Edwards did a fun study to find out who people hated more: people who talked too much, people who said nothing at all, people who were fake, or people who were show-offs.
Care to guess the answer?
The answer, hands-down, was being fake.
So if you try your best to make your date feel at ease by smiling broadly and laughing at everything he says, you may come across as less genuine than if you just let your natural reactions come to the surface.
There’s another reason not to smile unless it’s genuine:
He can spot a polite smile a mile away.
Human beings are very good at telling whether someone is really smiling or not. A genuine smile is called a Duchenne smile. It involves an involuntary crinkling of the tiny muscles under the eyes.
When someone really smiles at you, you tend to feel happy back. Emotions are contagious.
But if that person is smiling politely at you, you feel nothing. Your body registers the fact that it’s not genuine, even if it’s just on a subconscious level.
First Impression Hack #3:
Ask pleasurable questions.
Smiling at him when you’re pleased is a great way to make him feel good.
But there’s another way to make him feel happy in your company:
Ask him questions about pleasurable experiences.
When you ask him questions like, “Anything exciting happen to you today?” or “Got anything good coming up?” his mind automatically starts searching through all the good and exciting things that have happened to him.
Those thoughts give him a hit of pleasure…
Which he now associates with YOU.
So skip questions about his work or his past relationships or whether he has any siblings. Ask him lots of questions about the stuff that makes him smile. Have him describe his favorite meal to you. Ask him what he liked most about his last vacation.
He’ll associate the pleasure of recalling those experiences with being in your company.
First impressions don’t have to be scary. You don’t have to worry about saying the right thing or laughing at all of his jokes.
Smile when you feel like it, talk with your hands, and ask pleasurable questions. The more you enjoy yourself, the more he’ll enjoy you!