I knew the moment I laid eyes on him that the boy was going to be trouble.
- A random fifth grade teacher
Dan gets home from work at 5:20 every afternoon. This afternoon, his sixteen year old daughter Katelyn is waiting anxiously for him. She'd just found the perfect prom dress, but needed to borrow $50 from her father in order to afford it. As he pulls into the driveway, she watches from the window. Dan gets out of the car slowly and trudges up the driveway. His shoulders are slumped and his head is down. There are furrowed lines across his forehead, and his lips are pressed together tightly. He pauses before he gets to the door, his frown deepening as he bends to pick up a skateboard in the walkway and tosses it to the side. By the time he reaches the porch, Katelyn has already decided that this is not the best time to ask her dad for a loan.
When you see someone for the first time - whether it's the first time ever, or the first time today - your mind begins drawing conclusions about that person long before they open their mouth. If it's someone you know, those conclusions will be about mood and attitude. If you don't know them, especially if you've never seen them before, those impressions will include social status, intelligence, likeability and myriad other things. Other people are making the same judgments about you every time they see you.
How can others know so much about you just from a quick glance? Simple - your body and your appearance tells them. You give off dozens of clues about who you are and how you're feeling without even opening your mouth. And while they may revise their opinion after they start a conversation with you, very often that first impression decides whether they'll even bother to start the conversation that will tell them what a witty, sparkling and intelligent person you are.
If you want people to want to get to know you, it's important to pay attention to the details of your appearance and present them with a person that they want to know. If you want a company to hire you, you need to know what they're looking for and present yourself as a person with those qualities. Understanding how the little things about you are perceived can help you make the impression that you want to make on people without saying a word out loud.