No one is comfortable going into a bustling room filled with people that you don’t know. Many of us, despite whatever stature and success we may have achieved, still feel shy and awkward in those situations. To keep me focused and sideline some of the jitters, I set myself a goal of walking out having made two friends. To my mind, it’s not about how many business cards I can collect, but all about connecting, making good first impressions, and trying to forge mutually beneficial relationships from there.
To that end, a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov conducted more than a decade ago and published in the July 2006 issue of Psychological Science resulted in some very interesting conclusions. They revealed, “that all it takes is a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face.” The authors went on to note that longer exposures don’t significantly alter those initial impressions (although they might boost your confidence in your judgments).