AoC Toolbox | Four Components of a First Impression (Episode 656)

The Art of Charm (@TheArtofCharm) trio of Johnny, AJ, and Jordan talk about the four components of a first impression that begin even before the first words are exchanged: static, dynamic, self-presentation, and circumstance.

“You can’t become a positive blip on someone’s radar if they can’t see you.” -AJ Harbinger

The Cheat Sheet:

  • There are four components that go into making a first impression before first words are even exchanged.
  • Static: This is your physique and the exercise, nutrition, and sleep that go into maintaining it.
  • Dynamic: Your body language and not only what it communicates to others, but how it affects the way you feel about yourself.
  • Self-Presentation: What you wear, how you wear it, and the grooming that demonstrates at least a basic understanding of style and hygiene.
  • Circumstance: Where you spend your time and with whom you choose to spend it.
  • And so much more…

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We’ve all heard the old adage that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. What we hear less of is actionable advice we can use to actually make this happen — but that’s what we’re here to remedy.

In this toolbox episode of The Art of Charm, Johnny, AJ, and Jordan discuss the four components of a first impression that begin even before first words are exchanged and what we can do to maximize their impact and make sure that first impression is a positive one.

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More About This Show

So you came to check out this AoC toolbox episode because you want to make a good first impression on someone. You can be the smoothest speaker in the world, but it’s important to understand this simple fact: any first impression is usually made before verbalization even occurs. Think of an attractive stranger who enters the bar where you and your friends are socializing. She or he doesn’t have to say a word: heads start to turn as soon as that door opens.

It’s not magic. It’s a utilization of these four components of a first impression — and it works for anyone who learns and heeds their unspoken power. Let’s dig in!

Four Components of a First Impression

Static

This is your physique and what you do to maintain it. We’re not going to lie: of course looks matter — but genetics are only part of the equation. Don’t count yourself out just because you didn’t emerge from the womb with the DNA of whatever movie or pop star TMZ sees fit to chase down this week. Here’s what you can do to make the most of whatever raw materials you’ve got to work with.

  • Exercise: These days, most of us could do with adding a little more motion to the routine — especially if we’re stuck behind a desk for the majority of our work day. Not only will exercise enhance our physicality, but it will make us feel better and more confident thanks to the stimulation of brain chemistry like testosterone, dopamine, and serotonin. In fact, it only takes 90 minutes of heavy exercise a week to significantly increase testosterone production.
  • Nutrition: Everyone from your mother to your doctor to your high school gym teacher has said it: you are what you eat. Advice about what constitutes a positive dietary regimen is as varied as there are flavors of ice cream, but reducing your sugar and carb intake if you eat like a typical American is a good place to start. Oh, and probably ice cream.
  • Sleep: When he was on the show, sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus perhaps said it best: “Everything you do, you do better with a good night’s sleep.” If you’re sleepy and lethargic, you’re not going to feel good about yourself, and you’re probably not going to make an optimal first impression on anyone you meet. Getting to sleep is often easier said than done, though — make sure you have a comfortable mattress that helps rather than hinders your efforts, reduce your bedtime blue light exposure, and regulate your bedroom temperature accordingly.

Dynamic

This is your body language and not only what it communicates to others, but how it affects the way you feel about yourself.

Believe it or not, forcing yourself to smile when you’re in a lousy mood can turn that mood around. You’ve heard the phrase fake it till you make it? Confident body language makes you look the part and feel the part.

“The easiest way to do this is what we call a body check,” says Jordan. “I do this any time I enter a room. So every single doorway I walk through, I simply stand up tall as if there’s a string holding up my head. So my spine is nice and straight. I take my arms, shoulders, and I just roll them back, so my arms are at my sides. My chest is open, and I put a smile on my face. Then I grab the door handle and walk in the room. Just that one, two, three body check every single time I enter a room sends out that positive blip to everyone in the vicinity.”

Self-Presentation

This is what you wear, how you wear it, and the grooming that demonstrates at least a basic understanding of style and hygiene.

Style

When it comes to what we’re wearing, there are some very basic rules we can follow if we want to make a good first impression.

  • Fit: Do your pants fit? Does your shirt fit?
  • Showcase: Does your style showcase your personality in some way? Does your wardrobe tell a story about who you are? For instance, when AJ wears a Burton t-shirt, most people can pick up on his love for snowboarding.

Grooming

Nothing conveys a sense of low self-esteem like infrequent bathing and haphazard grooming. If you want to date outside the boxcar circuit, think beyond hobo chic. How attractive did you find the last person who sat next to you on the subway smelling like a chicken coop? Cleanliness is next to sexiness. Pay attention to your grooming and you’ll make a much better first impression on anyone you meet — plus you’ll feel better about approaching others.

Circumstance

Location

When you’re out and about, don’t go lurking in a dark corner away from where the action is. Positioning yourself in a high traffic area of a venue makes you more visible and likeable. Proximity to others makes it easy to strike up conversations without either party having to go out of their way.

Surroundings

What are our surroundings when we’re out? Other people. You’re judged based on the company you keep. If all of your friends are closed off, looking at the floor, and uninterested, it doesn’t matter if you’re high energy. You’ve got a big smile on your face. You run over there to talk to someone. Best believe they’re going to look at your group and say, “Oh. No.” Paying close attention to who you spend your time with is important. It says a lot about you.

As Jim Rohn famously said, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

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Jordan Harbinger - author of 931 posts on The Art of Charm

Jordan Harbinger has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world, including South America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, and speaks several languages. He has also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through war zones, and been kidnapped -- twice. He’ll tell you the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of) just about any type of situation. Here at The Art of Charm, Jordan shares that experience, and the system borne as a result, with students and clients.

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