Science Reveals How to Make People Think You Are Successful Within Five Seconds of Meeting Them
“You shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover” — we’ve all heard it, we all do it. We shouldn’t, but it’s practically instinctual.
Of course, life and business are simpler when you boil it down to statistics — most people will make a ton of assumptions about you within the first five seconds of meeting you in regard to your attractiveness, potential for success, personality, etc. When you bring business into the mix, first impressions of new colleagues and connections can be crucial. So within those first five seconds of meeting someone, how do you give off an aura of success?
The answer is simple — look the part. Of course, that all stops as soon as you open your mouth to speak, so you’ll at least have to sound smart as well.
It might sound obvious, but a 2011 Canadian study involving 87 university students found that professionally dressed men came off as more successful and were expected to make more money. The sloppily dressed men were expected to be made fun of at work.
A more recent 2013 Turkish study closed in on what exactly a man should wear to come off as more successful, and the answer is not surprising.
“The man was rated more positively on all attributes apart from trustworthiness when pictured in the bespoke suit … On the evidence of this study it appears men may be advised to purchase clothing that is well‐tailored, as it can positively enhance the image they communicate to others.”
So in a manner of speaking, success, or at least the look of success, can be bought at your local tailor. Additionally, a 1990 study found that women who dress more masculine, even though some might consider it sexist, and wear outfits and suits with straight silhouettes, angular lines and darker colors, are more hireable.
So the lesson here is if you want to come off as successful in those first five seconds of meeting someone, whether you are a man or woman, wear a suit. Look nice. Comb your hair, trim your nails and shave if you have to. That Zuckerberg jeans-and-hoodie look only works after you are a billionaire. Don’t try to look hot or sexy either, as that actually lowers other people’s perception of your power and success.
Holding a glass of Scotch while wearing a suit will either give you a ton more swagger and/or make you look like an alcoholic — the gamble is yours to make.