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A Better You
by Jo Ann Fore

The First 30 Seconds:
The Importance of a Good First Impression

I was nervous.

I wonder if my makeup is ok. Should I have picked another outfit? What will I say to him – it's different now that we're meeting in person.

Cautiously, I stepped out of my car as my date made his way over to me.

“I’ve got you something,” he greeted me with a huge grin on his face. “Something every girl secretly longs for.” Standing in front of me, he slid something into my hand. I looked down to find candy – but not just any candy: A Sugar Daddy!


I relaxed instantly. This was the funny man I had been talking to week after week. This was the person I wanted to formally meet. Little did he know, my secret longing was really to make a good impression on him.

Applying the ‘Three V’s’

A good first impression is important. Many people measure new relationships totally by their first impression of the person – accurate or not. So, how do you, when you’re meeting someone for the first time, make certain he or she doesn’t get the wrong image of you?

A study, conducted by a University of Toledo psychology professor, concluded that the first 30 seconds make or break the connection between two people when they meet for the first time. (1)

Another study conducted by UCLA found that “people evaluate one another by using the three V’s: visual (appearance), vocal (voice) and verbal (what you say).” (1)

Before you head out on your next date to meet someone new, let’s concentrate on these areas:

1. How others will see you. (Visual)
» Are you groomed well: Do you look like this date is important to you? Did you take some time with your appearance?

» Does what you are wearing compliment your body style?

» Are you conscious of your posture? Standing straight projects confidence while a slouchy posture can make you appear weak.

» Watch your manners: Bad manners turn people off.

2. How others will hear you. (Vocal)
» Is your voice pleasing and positive? People are drawn to, and comforted by, an individual with a pleasing voice who speaks positively.

» Is your voice rushed or aggressive? There is a distinct difference in assertive tonality and just being rude. In your excitement, don’t be overconfident – it can come across harshly and scare people away.

» Is your voice too soft? You might come across as insecure. If you speak softly, make a conscious effort to speak clearly – don’t make your date have to work to hear you.

3. What others will hear you say. (Verbal)
» Do you speak positively? There are some things that don’t need to be said on your first date – what a horrible ‘ex’ you have, the many people you hate, or even your dogmatic political preferences – until you’ve had a chance to get to know one another.

» Use your listening skills. People have a natural desire to connect – let them know you are interested in what they have to say by repeating it back to them.

» Think outside of the box. If you’ve been dating long at all, you know that first dates fall into a pattern of similar questions. Be unique and avoid this pattern – don’t say the same thing everyone else is saying.

» Remember what you don’t say sometimes speaks just as loudly. I don’t know about guys, but most girls have a hard time relaxing over dinner while being ogled.

Remember to Relax
It can be a lot of pressure to make a good first impression but keep it comfortable: Learn to relax.

While my last minute nerves attacked me, my date had it all under control. He put forethought into one of the most important aspects of a new relationship – the first impression. He relaxed and integrated one of his charming personality traits, his humor, into our first meeting. He made a great first impression, and a lasting one. I married him.

(1) Resource:

Jo Ann Fore welcomes your comments about this article or suggestions for material you would like to see in future articles. Email her at: A Better You is published every Saturday.


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