Whether you’re trying to motivate your sales team to get more business or to attract new employees – your first impression is all you have.  According to new research from RADA, 78% of people say they seldom meet someone who makes a strong first impression in the workplace, despite 71% of people believing they regularly make the desired impact in a first meeting. Even 47% believe their communication style ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’  has the necessary influence highlighting the perceived gap in first impressions.

Imagine if every interaction with a customer or a prospect went swimmingly – your sales could practically double!

As you know, first impressions count. If we decided someone has a particular trait or personality, it can be hard to switch our thinking. Our brains look to reconfirm our initial opinion of someone, an act known as “confirmation bias”.

It’s key that your team has the ability to make people engage with them – this can have a real effect on your selling capabilities.

Professor Alex Todorov, from Princeton University, said faces that appear happy, even if they’re not smiling, are commonly rated as trustworthy. On the other hand, faces that appear angry are wrongly the most likely to be perceived as untrustworthy.
And droopy eyes, pale skin and signs of sleep deprivation hint at unintelligence.

‘It’s obviously a complex story, but the reason we trust first impressions automatically is that they feel right,’ Professor Todorov told Vice.

It also matters from a HR perspective when it comes to recruitment.  A study of more than 273 managers and 3,280 employees who were asked about their interview experiences confirmed that around 70 per cent said a candidate’s make-up creates a first impression, and on the other side – the candidates who accepted a job did so based on a handshake (60 per cent) and the quality of small talk (58 per cent). It seems that unconscious clues, such as our stance, a smile, a walk that radiates confidence and self-assurance are all important – so who better to teach you the ropes than World-renowned drama school RADA?

The RADA survey comes as they celebrate their revival of ‘the art of making a good first impression’ by opening its doors to business people wanting to improve how they are perceived by colleagues and clients thinks that stage techniques can help.

“As this research shows it’s harder than people think to make a lasting first impression. However, by employing some of the techniques used by actors when performing on stage, you can drastically increase your levels of success.” Said Charlie Walker-Wise, Client Director and Tutor at RADA in Business.

“Using your peripheral vision is crucial when entering a new space so that you can absorb the atmosphere of the room you’re walking into and see everyone in it. It allows you to gauge the physical environment and emotional climate.

By making positive physical and vocal choices your audience can see that you’re available to them and engaged, whether it’s an interview panel of two people or hundreds at a TED Talk.

Ultimately by increasing your self-awareness in business situations, you become more aware of the impact of both your behaviour and the behaviour of others. You can use these skills to flex your communication style according to the situation and make the first impression required. It’s amazing how small shifts in how you use your physicality and voice can affect your audience.”

For more information on RADA in Business, please visit www.radainbusiness.com.