The study, conducted by Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and published in the peer-reviewed journal Behavior & Information Technology, found that people online form first impressions in just 50 milliseconds based on visual cues. For some perspective, that means impressions are made faster than lightning strikes; in fact, impressions are formed nearly three times faster than the time it takes for light to travel around the earth’s equator. Science supports that people still judge books, websites, and people by their covers.
The implications are profound for job hunters, salespeople, business owners, executives, or anyone trying to build personal or professional relationships in the digital space.
“People make snap judgments about you online,” says Alain Wolf, bestselling author of the book, Develop Amazing Social Skills and Connect with People: The Ultimate Guide to Approach, Interact, and Connect with Anyone Anywhere. “It’s important that you ask yourself: How do I want people to see me?”
Wolf is a master at helping people connect, interact, and become more confident in social situations; but Wolf’s people strategies are equally applicable to online interactions, which are especially challenging given the lightning-fast judgments people make about one another online.
To create a great first impression in cyberspace, Alain Wolf offers four practical strategies.
1. Leverage the “Power of the Face.” According to Wolf, words account for only 7% of communication between people offline, while non-verbal communication, such as facial expression, voice and body language accounts for 93%. For digital interactions, your picture speaks louder than words. “Online, people will unconsciously analyze the emotions they feel when they look at your picture,” Wolf explains. Getting the right photo of yourself is critically important, and smiling is the secret sauce. “Remember a time when you felt happy and you will automatically have an authentic smile,” Wolf says. “Then you look at the camera and take the picture.”
2. Create a good digital first impression. To convey the right emotion, Wolf suggests asking a question: “What are the three words that I want people to describe me as? Then, “Focus on memories that trigger those emotions, and try to feel the way these emotions when you take the picture,” says Wolf. “Although people can’t ‘feel’ you online, they can still perceive warmth, confidence, openness, and other positive emotions through your online presence: your photo, videos, and even the words you use on your website and on social media.”
3. Be real – but in moderation. Authenticity is highly valued online, but Wolf cautions people not to mistake authenticity for showing everyone everything. “Instead, imagine that you are like a painting box. You could use all the colors to paint a painting, but that’s not the best strategy,” Wolf says. “Instead, ask yourself: What are the best personality traits that I want to show online? You can then authentically show the best parts of yourself that people really want to see.”
4. Remember that first words, like first impressions, matter the most. According to Wolf, “The first few sentences people read from you are the most important ones. People will discover you and ask, ‘Should I continue reading?’ So take some of your best stuff and put it first so people are motivated to read more.”
Wolf’s unique approach has even won praise from legendary business guru Brian Tracy. “Alain Wolf will help you live a better life,” Tracy says. “He will transform your problems into opportunities. If you have the chance to meet him, don’t hesitate!”
Alain Wolf is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and the world’s leading transformational coach. Wolf had delivered hundreds of live trainings around the globe, reaching over 100,000 people from 173 countries.
To connect with Alain Wolf, visit www.AlainWolfCoaching.com.