People size you up in just 3 seconds -- here's how to make a brilliant first impression

The first time someone meets you, it takes them about three seconds to determine whether they like you or want to do business with you in the future, said Jean Baur, a career coach and author of the book “The Essential Job Interview Handbook.”

This is crucial when it comes to meetings where that first impression makes all the difference, such as a job interview or client presentation. From your posture to the jewellery you wear,
key details can have a significant impact on how you’re perceived.

Here are a few ways to make a brilliant first impression in a flash.

This is an update of an article originally written by Vivian Giang.

1. Grooming

First and foremost, you need to look like you take care of yourself. This means paying attention to your fingernails, hair, and makeup. Baur said to make sure that your fingernails are clean and trimmed or nicely manicured. If you wear makeup, you should make sure it doesn't draw attention to itself, but is used to highlight your features.

Don't forget to also pay attention to your feet. Career expert Nicole Williams said her biggest pet peeve is when women wear open-toed shoes without getting pedicures. 'If you're going to show your toes, make sure your toes are well-groomed,' she said.

If you are a man who is interested in sporting facial hair, make sure that it works for you, said Adam P. Causgrove, chairman of The American Mustache Institute.

Think about it like a haircut -- not every cut is going to look good on every person, he said. Regardless, your facial hair needs to be kept trim and tidy to maintain a professional look.

2. Clothing

Whatever you wear, make sure it's appropriate in your industry. 'Everyone draws their lines differently,' said etiquette coach Barbara Pachter. 'For example, you may be able to wear shorts, but not cutoffs. If your company has a dress code, follow it.'

Baur advised: 'If you're in banking, wear a navy blue, grey, or black suit (pantsuits are fine for women). But if you're in marketing, training, or academia, you have a wider choice. I like to wear bright colours, such as a red or turquoise, as they complement my colouring and reflect my personal style.'

It's also important to consider how your colour choices will play in the environment, said Pachter. 'Darker colours usually convey a stronger impression than lighter ones.' If you're giving a presentation, make sure the colour you're wearing doesn't blend in with the background behind you.

According to 2,100 hiring managers and human resource professionals who participated in a CareerBuilder survey, blue and black are the best colours to wear to a job interview, and orange is the worst. Conservative colours, such as black, blue, grey, and brown, seem to be the safest bet when meeting someone for the first time in a professional setting, whereas colours that signal more creativity, like orange, may be too loud.

3. Jewellery

Steve Exum / Stringer / Getty Images

'Keep your jewellery subtle unless you're an opera singer or nightclub entertainer,' said Baur. 'And don't wear things that will clank when you rest your hand on the table or that make noise when you gesture.'

Accessories are meant to complement your outfit, not overpower it. 'I once met a woman who had a ring on every finger,' Pachter said. 'You couldn't look at anything else.'

6. Facial expression

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Make sure your face is pleasant by smiling often and maintaining eye contact at appropriate times. If you're frowning or your face looks frozen in nervousness, the interviewer could easily get the impression that you're difficult or indifferent.

When you smile, make sure that you are giving off a genuine smile.

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