First impressions can be tricky, uncomfortable and just…ugh!  How would you like to make a fabulous first impression regardless of who you’re with, without fail?

Social Psychology Amy Cuddy drops some serious knowledge for us in her book “Presence”.  After years of global research she breaks down the complicated interaction of first impressions into its most simplest form.  In a nutshell…whenever we meet someone we ask the same two questions (whether we’re aware of it or not):

  1. Can I trust this person?

  2. Can I respect this person?

Not only are you asking these questions subconsciously, others are asking those questions about you.  This is seriously like getting the answers to the test.  In order to nail each and every first impression, you need to make sure you answer the subconscious questions with:

  1. Yes, you can trust me
  2. Yes, you can respect me


Research shows there is a formula for trust hat involves the following:

  1. 7% is the words we use

  2. 38% is the tone of our voice

  3. 55% is our body language.

Easy strategies to build trust in an initial meeting:

  1. Don;t be afraid to lock eyes, but only for 7-10 seconds.  Any shorter and you seem shifty, any longer and you seem shady.
  2. We’ve all heard “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.”  In order to say it in a way that others appreciate watch the tone.  You don’t need to fake your tone, just keep it to your natural vocal range.  Yup.  Your natural tone is the best tone.
  3. Watch your pace.  Talking to fast – which many of us do when we’re nervous – doesn’t convoy trust or respect.  In fact, speaking quickly can come across like you’re untrustworthy, so take your time.

Easy strategies to build respect in an initial meeting:

  1. Eliminate words that feel “powerless”.  Words like “can’t” and “have to” make you sound powerless and it is difficult for someone meeting you for the first time to respect victimization.
  2. Listen attentively.  Everyone respects someone who seeks to understand them.
  3. Eliminate distractions.  We’re on call 24/7.  Text messages, cell phones, emails, everything going off all at the same time.  When you’re meeting someone for the first time, make sure all distractions are out of the way.  It’s so uncommon for us to give one another our undivided attention, so you get extra points just for remembering the manners our parents taught us.

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The corporate world needs that brilliance that only you bring.  So go out into the world, act with conviction, be courageous and live joyfully every single day.



Adwoa Dadzie is a Vice President of Human Resources at a Fortune 50 company and Corporate Career Strategist. The views expressed in this post are Adwoa’s and do not reflect the views of her employer. Follow her on Twitter @adwoadadzie3, Instagram @adwoadadzie, Periscope @adwoadadzie3, or visit her at