The Relationship Edge: Your first 7 seconds are critical

relationship edgeDo you want to get the relationship edge? There are seven things you need to know. The moment a stranger notices you, their brain makes 11 major decisions and a multitude of computations. Are you safe? Can you be trusted? Do you have status or authority? Will you be a potential intimate partner? Are you competent? Do you look like a friend or foe? Do you appear like you’re selling, compelling or repelling?

All these computations are analysed and processed at speeds that are faster than the speed of light. Researchers from New York University Graduate School of Business discovered that we all make eleven major decisions upon meeting someone for the first time within seven seconds of meeting them. This new research gives us all a relationship edge when connections are critical.

This information is how you get the relationship edge and is a must for leaders, lovers, business owners, managers, sales professionals, parents and anyone who values the quality of their relationships.

We make 11 major decisions about a person in 7 seconds

Generally, first impressions are the greatest opportunities to create lasting relationships and in business they are crucial. Get it wrong and you’ll soon discover the cost. While you cannot stop people from making instant decisions about you, you can help them to see you in a favourable way.

One of the greater influencers are our non-verbal cues. In fact, studies have found that non-verbal cues are over four times more powerful than anything you say.

7 Relationship Keys in 7 seconds

1. Adjust your attitude. We seek out attitude in milliseconds. Before you go anywhere or do anything, adjust your attitude. If you’re about to enter a meeting or do a presentation or catch up with a friend or client, make a conscious choice about the attitude you want to completely embody. Simply say to yourself, “Right now, I’m deciding to be problem solver” or “My intention is to be an absolute professional in this meeting and beyond” and completely embody who you think a professional is or a great problem solver. We often think in archetypes and identities, so shift yours to be the best you can be. Are you the sage; servant; sales person; magician or hero, etc.

2. Smile. Just doing this one thing will send a cacophony of signals to whoever you approach and while it’s a no-brainer, so often we forget to do this one simple thing. A smile is an invitation that says, “I’m friendly, helpful and come in peace.”

How Important Is Eye Contact?

3. Make eye contact. If we look into the eyes of the person we’re about to meet sends a signal that says, “I’ve got nothing to hide”. Looking at someone’s eyes indicates interest and openness.

4. Raise your eyebrows. This is a universal sign of recognition and acknowledgement. You’ll see this as a typical behaviour among friends when they first spot each other from afar. You can do this by open your eyes just a little more than normal and you’ll create an “eyebrow wave”.

5. Straighten your posture. We call it the “Sternum!” When you lift your sternum (breast bone) just a few centimetres you will not only look more confident, you will also feel more confident. Standing tall, pulling your shoulders back a little and holding your head straight sends a raft of signals including confidence and competence.

6. Shake hands. Research shows that it takes an average of three hours of continuous interaction to develop the same level of rapport that you can get with a single handshake.

7. Lean in slightly. Most people like us to be about one to two feet away, however people who are more kinesthetic prefer us to be little closer and in business, I would suggest a two foot rule. Regardless, leaning forward shows that you’re engaged and interested.

Furthermore, whether you’re in business or working with others at work, relationships are the difference that makes the difference. When we master how to help others to feel more comfortable in our presence, we create the opportunities for long lasting relationships. If you do not master these skills then you are at risk of creating non-verbal signals that elicit fear or a lack of trust or worse, a signal that says something’s not right.

The 11 major decisions keys

Accordingly, 7 Seconds is all it takes to decide to buy from someone, partner with a special someone or run for the hills. While it sounds like we’re jumping to conclusions, it’s because we are and we do. While we would like to keep open, our need for safety will have us judge at every opportunity. Here are the 11 decisions we make in just 7 seconds to help you to get the relationship edge.

  1. Education level
  2. Economic level
  3. Perceived credibility and believability
  4. Trustworthiness
  5. Level of sophistication
  6. Sexual identification
  7. Level of success
  8. Political background
  9. Religious background
  10. Ethnic background
  11. Social and professional desirability

Get the Relationship Edge

Finally, if you are interested in professionally improving your communication skills? There isn’t a faster way to get the relationship edge than by learning NLP. To find out more about NLP, click here. Alternately, consider getting one-on-one coaching with the author, R!k Schnabel.

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