A blink of an eye, 7 seconds, is all it takes to form a first impression of someone.   And 7 seconds is all it takes for someone to generate a first impression of you. (Please reference past articles on Malcolm Gladwell’s iconic bestseller, Blink.)

Various scientific studies verify and make specific Gladwell’s research by pointing to nine things that we all decide about one another in seconds. Today, we’ll concentrate on five characteristics that shine clear without anyone saying a word.

  1. Trustworthiness – According to a recent study done by Princeton University, it takes people .10 second to determine someone’s trustworthiness. Eye contact is critical here. Presenting an open body turned toward you is critical. No pierced lips. No fidgeting, playing with hair, leg shaking.
  2. Intelligence – Again, eye contact is critical here. Loyola Marymount University professor Nora A. Murphy found in her research that “looking while speaking was a key factor” in someone’s perceived intelligence. Wearing think glasses and speaking expressively can also help boost someone’s perception of another’s intelligence.
  3. Dominance – Speaking too much and too loud won’t do it here. Being a good, attentive listener will. From a “looks” point of view, men “with shaved heads were rated as more dominant that similar men with full heads of hair” according to a study done by the University of Pennsylvania. Tip…if the hair is staring to go, shave it off. No wonder Jeff Bezos is so successful.
  4. Successful – A Canadian study done at the University of Montreal found that people who were dressed crisply were and would become more successful than those dressed more casually.
  5. Adventurous – This is all about body movement according to a study done by Dunham University. People were shown videos of how others moved. Those with looser gaits were perceived to be more extroverted and adventurous than those were “clipped” walkers. Clipped walkers were perceived to be neurotic.

Remember, it takes just seconds of meeting people that we decide all sorts of things about others. Malcolm Gladwell calls this kind of information gathering and information analytics “thin slicing.”


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