The Body Language Key To Improving Your Networking Game
Guest post by Scott Rouse, a behavior analyst and body language expert.
You’ve heard it a million times since you were a kid: “The most important part of meeting someone is making the right first impression.” Do you think that’s true or is it just some old wives tale that’s been repeated by mothers since the dawn of time?
Within 24 hours you’ll see a dramatic difference
As it turns out, your mother was right. And if she wanted to back her claim up with scientific studies she could do it with no problem at all. That’s great because you can use that information starting right now, and within 24 hours you’ll see a dramatic difference in the way people treat you, whether they know you or not. Sounds crazy, right? Not when you look at the research behind it.
The Thin Slices Study
There was a study done at Harvard called The Instantaneous Impressions Study. The study later was known as The Thin Slices Study. For the study, students were shown several 6-second video clips. The clips had no sound and they were grainy and low quality.
The short video clips were of professor’s assistants, each video featured one assistant. The students were asked to grade those assistants according to how much they would like to have them as their professor’s assistants for their class that semester.
At the end of the semester, the students were again asked to grade the assistants. Not from video but from the experience they had with the assistant. The results of the grading before the semester and the results of the grading after the semester were so close, they were almost identical.
What does all that mean for you and your networking? It means you now have inside information that most people don’t have and you can use it to your advantage. Here’s how…
When the brain is given just a “thin slice” of information about a person, it will take that slice and create the rest of the “story” about that person on its own. For example, it may think “Hmmm… His hair style is like my brother’s. I like my brother. And from that tie he’s wearing with little footballs on it, he probably likes football. I like football too. He’s smiling and looks like he’s in a good mood. I like people who are in a good mood. I like this person.”
Or it may think “Hmmm… That woman has the same expression on her face that the woman in that TV show always has on her face. I don’t like that woman from that TV show. I don’t like this woman either.” And if it decides it likes you, or it doesn’t like you, that decision sticks. And it’s hard to change that brain’s decision. It wants to continue to like/dislike you. So that’s what it does.
There's a secret. A key you can use...
Keep in mind, this is not something that is done consciously. It happens subconsciously in your brain and you don’t even realize it. All of that sounds like a truck-load of information to remember and use. Not really. There’s a secret. A key you can use to tap into a Nonverbal tip that will, for some, change the networking game for the better, forever.
Here’s the key: Pay attention to your Resting Face. It’s the face we all make when we’re not talking to anyone and we’re just sitting there, anywhere, by ourselves… waiting, drinking coffee, reading, whatever it is we’re doing where no one else involved and we think no one else is looking at us. Most of the time, believe it or not, it’s not a very pleasant face you’re making.
It’s important you pay attention to that. Think about the Thin Slices Study. If someone sees your unattractive Resting Face their brain will start making decisions about you immediately. For example… You have an important meeting at 3:00 but you got there early. You’ve got time to check your social media. On Twitter, somebody’s been really mean to this poor little dog. You don’t realize it, but an expression of anger and disgust washes over your face. As you move on to another Tweet your face relaxes but you still have that poor little dog on your mind. And your face shows it.
Now, the people you are going to meet with walk out of a conference room not far from where you’re sitting. As they all take a quick glance at you one of them says “Wow. That’s the guy we’re meeting with? He looks so negative. Here we go again. Another boring meeting with somebody in a bad mood. And he looks like that guy from Boston none of us liked.” All that, because of your unattractive Resting Face.
If you want to change your networking game with a single, scientifically proven, Nonverbal tip, remember this: When you’re in public, ALWAYS have a relaxed, pleasant look on your face. Not too smiley because you’ll look crazy. Not too bland or you’ll look mental. Just a simple, relaxed and pleasant Resting Face because that first six seconds, up close or at a distance, is where you make your first impression. Whether you know you’re making that impression or not.
Scott Rouse is a behavior analyst and body language expert, Scott Rouse holds multiple certificates in advanced interrogation training and has been trained alongside the FBI, Secret Service, U.S. Military Intelligence, and the Department of Defense. His extensive training, education, and practice of nonverbal communication has made him an expert and consultant to law enforcement as well as successful CEO’s, attorneys, executives, and entertainers. He is also a Grammy-nominated producer and TEDx Speaker.