Are you on Snapchat? I admit I have not yet taken the plunge but I am in the minority. According to those at the Snapchat app, more than 158 million people are on Snapchat and each user opens the app 18 times a day, on average. The app allows its user to share short videos or photos privately with friends or family of their choosing. The photos or video messages then erase after a few seconds. So if you think about, Snapchat is really all about making an impression and doing it quickly.

With that in mind, the Snapchat app follows many of the same rules and parameters I establish in media training. That is-how to create memorable soundbites and messages in a short window of time. Multiple studies have been done on first impressions and all indicate you don’t have much time before a judgement has been rendered. In fact, you have about seven seconds to make a positive first impression. Non-verbal cues have also been studied and proven to have four times the impact of words. Fair or not, all of us make personal judgements quickly. It is the world we live in and makes up a fair share of my time instructing clients on effective media communication. So whether you are on Snapchat, in a job interview, or being interviewed by the news media, there are some simple things you can do to leave a positive first impression:

Make Direct Eye Contact.
People want to know you are interested in meeting them. And nothing says you are NOT more than looking somewhere else. Look them straight in the eyes or you may never get them back.

A smile can go a long ways. Not only does a smile provide a friendly face, studies have proven it helps relax both parties.

Many people make the mistake of believing they have to fill every second with words or God forbid, there will be silence! I say, embrace the silence. Ask a question and sit back and listen. An attentive listener sets a great tone as being an engaged communicator in a two-sided conversation. Don’t hog all the time. The best listeners are also more inclined to be given a road map as to where to take the discussion to best engage the other party.

There are so many great personal stories out there but very few people who can deliver those messages in a condensed form. Effective communication often utilizes a less is more concept when it comes to words. Think about the very best messages or lines or lessons you’ve heard. Are these multiple paragraphs or a couple of lines? Or maybe just a few words?

Learn how to be a word miser and you will improve your odds of leaving a great first impression.