I Hear You - First Impressions

How You Sound is as Important as How You Look When it Comes to First Impressions!

My last blog focused on a theme of ‘First Impressions Matter’. Now I’m sure most of you have heard many variations on this theme – “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”, “people judge you based on their first impression of you”, etc.

The reason this is driven home so often is because it’s true!

But, exactly what makes up first impressions, and, more importantly, what can you do to make sure your first impressions are good one?

Two big factors that play into first impressions – one is what do people instantly think when they SEE you, and another is what do they think when they HEAR you. The last blog focused on the ‘seeing’ part; let’s now turn to the ‘hearing’ part for this one.

Studies have been done showing that the sound of your voice is another key component of a First Impression.
In a ground breaking study out of Glasgow, it was shown that humans make judgements on someone’s trustworthiness and dominance within the 300 to 500 milliseconds of hearing their voice!

This is about as long as it takes to hear the word Hello! The truly astounding thing is you don’t even need to see the person talking, just hear the sound of their voice for one word to determine if you like them!

Trustworthiness and Dominance are the two traits we determine the fastest in both visual and vocal cues. And, not surprisingly, they are hardwired into us as a key to our survival as we’ve evolved throughout history. Trustworthiness is key to having people like you enough to give you their money to support your business or for hiring managers to bring you on board to their company.

Likewise, Dominance is an important trait to have in order to have people feel you’re credible and experienced enough for them to – you got it – give you their money to support your business or for hiring managers to bring you on board to their company.

This is one reason why so many Sales Training programs tell you to put a mirror on your desk and SMILE when you are on the phone – how you show up even when people can’t see you impacts how you sound and what they will think of you when you’re talking.

If you sound cheerful, energetic and comfortable in your own skin and with the surroundings you find yourself in, people will likewise feel more comfortable around you, and be more likely to hire or promote you. They will also be more inclined to give you their business and refer you to others.

So, the next time you are out and about, whether for socially or for work, be sure to smile when you say hello!