Making a Great First Impression: The Importance of Your Smile
A first impression is the immediate evaluation people make after meeting or seeing other people. This impression can occur professionally or personally, depending on the situation. First impressions occur based on reactions to appearance, demeanor, body language, and mannerisms. A healthy and friendly smile can have a significant impact on your first impression on other people.
When you meet someone in either a professional or personal interaction, your appearance and image will usually have an immediate influence on how that person reacts and responds to you. The old adage states that you don’t get a second chance to make a positive first impression. This is because initial judgments that occur after a first meeting generally stay with people, even after getting to know someone better. Some estimates place the timing of a first impression at a brief four seconds, and by about half a minute, this judgment is usually cemented in someone’s mind.
Body language plays a significant role in a first impression. The way you carry yourself, maintaining good posture and exuding a relaxed and confident attitude, is crucial to making a good first impression. Maintaining eye contact and smiling in a friendly manner are also important parts of positive body language. The brain’s limbic system is responsible for receiving incoming information and deciding on the body’s response to it. This is the point where your brain determines whether something is threatening or non-threatening without even forming a conscious thought. This determination is not based on logical deliberation; it is purely irrational.
When you see a friendly person projecting a relaxed demeanor with a genuine smile, you are more likely to assume that this person is trustworthy and authentic. When continued interaction reinforces this initial impression, the judgment will be confirmed. Another way to connect with others is to build rapport. Rapport describes the process of “clicking” with someone else and enjoying a common bond. It’s possible to observe someone’s speaking style, posture, and mannerisms and then adopt similar mannerisms when communicating. Most times, the person mirrored will not even realize that this is occurring. However, it is very effective for connecting with others in a positive way.
Flashing a big smile displays confidence, happiness, friendliness, warmth, and positive feelings. A genuine smile may start at the lips, but it also involves the eyes. This type of true smile will pull the cheeks up so that the skin around the eyes crinkles. In this way, the eyes communicate the emotions behind the smile. It’s common for people to assume that you are friendly, accepting, intelligent, resourceful, honest, and trustworthy when you lead with a big, genuine smile. What’s more, when you smile often, you often feel more positive and happy, which can radiate out to others.
To keep teeth white and smiles bright, maintain good oral health. Oral health is important for overall good health because infections in the mouth can often travel to other body systems, causing illness. Strong and bright teeth also communicate attention to personal hygiene and overall vitality. Regular teeth-brushing is an integral part of good oral hygiene. Many people use electric toothbrushes due to their improved cleaning power, which helps keep plaque and tartar at bay. Rinsing the mouth after eating acidic foods, eating a variety of crunchy natural foods, and chewing sugarless gum are ways to help keep teeth whiter. A number of whitening products and treatments are also available to restore the gleam of teeth.
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Importance of Smiling
- Big Question: Why Do We Smile?
- Study of Smiling (PDF)
- Fake it Till You Make It: Can Smiling Improve Mental State?
- All Smiles Are Positive, But Some Smiles Are More Positive Than Others (PDF)
- Nature and Nurture in the Development of Social Smiling (PDF)
- Inhibiting and Facilitating Conditions of the Human Smile: A Nonobtrusive Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis (PDF)
- Palm Coast Dentists
- When You’re Smiling
- Smile! It’s Good for Your Heart!
- The Value of a Smile: Facial Expression Affects Ultimatum-Game Responses (PDF)
Ways to Brighten Smiles