First impressions are so important. Not only are we making them about others, it’s vice versa as people make first impressions about us too. Everyone working at a senior living community, whether an assisted living, memory care or life plan community, makes first impressions and affects a community’s success.
In a new book, “Presence”, Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business school professor, says people answer two questions when they first meet you:
- Can I trust this person?
- Can I respect this person?
Ideally, you want to be perceived as having what psychologists refer to as warmth and competence dimensions.
Most people believe that competence is more important and set out to prove they are smart and talented enough to handle business. But warmth or trustworthiness is the most important factor in someone’s evaluation.
Cuddy says that “it is more crucial to know whether a person deserves our trust.” While competence is highly valued, it is evaluated only after trust is established. Focusing on displaying your strength can backfire.
Skipping networking events, not asking for help or seeming to be unapproachable can work as negatives. “If someone you are trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you are not going to get very far, said Cuddy.
First impressions are formed within 7 to 17 seconds after meeting someone. Thirty-eight percent of a first impression is determined by tone of voice; fifty-five percent of a person’s opinion is determined by personal appearance and ninety-three percent of people’s judgments are based on non-verbal cues like body language. Addressing someone by using their name increases the likelihood that they will respond by thirty-six percent.
When I come back after visiting an assisted living, memory care or life plan community and think about the people who I have met, I think these tips are certainly of value and very relevant to successful relationships with residents, families, referral sources and others. I wanted to pass them along to you.
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