In business, first impressions are everything. A firm handshake, a calming smile…yes we’ve heard all the tips. But we thought we’d investigate a little further, so we headed to world-renowned drama school RADA. 

RADA now runs training courses, so we went to explore their new section of the firm – RADA in Business. After commissioning a big research project, RADA discovered that a huge 78% of business people asked said that they seldom meet people who make a strong first impression on them.

Are business people blissfully unaware of what a missed opportunity it is that they aren’t making better first impressions A huge 71% of people believe that they give off excellent first impressions and they regularly make the desired impact on the people they meet.

first impressions - Compelo

We asked RADA’s Client Director

Charlie Walker-Wise, the Client Director and Tutor at RADA in Business, told Compelo: “As our research shows, it really is harder than people think to make a lasting first impression.” How can actors help us? Well employing their stage techniques can dramatically increase levels of success.

“Using your peripheral vision is crucial when you are entering a new space,” explains Walker-Wise. “You need to be able to absorb the atmosphere of the room in which you are walking into. You need to also be able to see everyone in it. This will allow you to gauge the physical environment and climate.”

Positive vocal and physical changes can really make all the difference. Think of the TED Talk speakers, working the room is what they do so well and it makes a huge difference. They can see that you are available to them and that you are engaged.

“Ultimately by increasing your self-awareness in business situations you become more aware of the impact of both your behaviour and the behaviour of others,” says Walker-Wise.

“You can use these skills to flex your communication style according to the situation. Then you can really make the first impression required. It’s amazing how much small shifts in how you use your physicality and voice can affect your whole audience.’’

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