Woman's World

“Help me make a good first impression!”

Studies show others form an opinion of us in the first seven seconds after we meet! Whether you’re on a job interview or a first date, our experts share the easy ways to make sure you make a great first impression!

- —Nancy Coveney

1 Excel at a job interview! Nix the jitters!

Acting self-assured (even if you’re not!) for just 30 seconds at the start of an interview helps reprogram your brain to feel more confident, promises body-language expert Patti Wood. Just picture yourself happily working at the company, and you’ll instantly feel uplifted, energetic and at ease. “Go ahead and gesture while speaking,” she adds. “Opening your hands signals that you’re direct and honest!”

Prepare to impress!

It pays to do a little research on the people you’ll meet. Look up the hiring manager on Linkedin or Facebook to find something you have in common, then bring it up while going over your background. “If you know something interestin­g about them, say, you went to the same college, you can move faster into a meaningful conversati­on,” explains branding expert Dorie Clark.

Try the mirroring trick!

To impress as a good match, listen for key words and then repeat them. “For example, if a manager says, ‘We have a great team,’ reply, ‘When I worked with the team at my former firm…’ ” says Wood.

2 Shine on a first date! Break the ice!

Unsure of what to say when you meet someone for the first time? “Decide ahead of time how you want to greet the other person and take the initiative,” advises Wood. Whether you choose a handshake or peck on the cheek, “if you go first, it gets the other person off the hook, which will immediatel­y put him at ease.”

Prepare for sparks!

Before your date, come up with some interest you might share. Wouldn’t it be fun if he’s a fan of your favorite sports team, also has a passion for rescued pets or is really into mystery books, too? “In some cases, a lack of chemistry between two people is really just a lack of obvious things to talk about,” says Clark. “If you stack the deck a little, you might hit it off with somebody you didn’t think you would!” Lighten up to create good vibes! “A bit of levity makes others feel good, and they’ll project that mood back onto you,” explains psycholo- gist Ann Demarais, PH.D. Just think of a few funny personal stories to share, or browse magazines, newspapers and websites for amusing, timely anecdotes.

Dress to impress!

Just a splash of red in, say, a pretty crimson scarf, can make you feel extra- confident and attractive! A study found that women who wear red in their online dating profile picture are more likely to get texts and e- mails from prospectiv­e dates than women wearing any other color! Not a fan of red? Black and brilliant blue also convey sophistica­tion and confidence, according to new research.

Ask the right questions!

Listen carefully, then ask questions that start with “what” or “why” to open up a conversati­on that can spark a deeper connection, says Clark. “You’re better off having the other person talk more than you do at first. The more they talk, the more you can learn about them.”

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