People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.

You Are Getting “Thin Sliced” In 3 Seconds When Making That First Impression!

On the #WednesdayWisdom, John C. Maxwell was right, people "feel" your attitude and social scientists will tell you it happens very quickly. Scientists call it “thin slicing”, that is the impression and judgement people start to garner off the first three seconds of an encounter. You will be sized up for socio-economic status via your clothing or your level of aggression via your facial features. There will be assumptions made and quickly.


I recently sat down with Pat McGonigle, morning anchor at KSDK in St Louis to talk about how to win at a job fair. In reality, the conversation centers around this "Thin Slicing" concept, that you are going to be sized up very quickly for attitude which translates into how approachable you are and whether or not you can be trusted. Find this short clip here:




Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has been studying first impressions alongside fellow psychologists Susan Fiske and Peter Glick for more than 15 years, and has discovered patterns in these interactions.


In her new book, “Presence,” Cuddy says that people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:


Can I trust this person?

Can I respect this person?


Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence, respectively, and ideally you want to be perceived as having both.


Check out her article here:




I’m not sure how we can exhibit “warmth” and “competence” in 3 seconds but if it’s trust that becomes key to initiating a personal or professional relationship, I do know what the four things are that should be our focus. The four attributes that make up trust are:

  1. Respect

  2. Openness

  3. Consistency

  4. Honesty

The easiest way to remember these foundations of building trust are the acronym “ROCH” and I have written extensively on the topic. You can find my most recent article here:


The ROCH of Trust:




In summary, trust established quickly will not only initiate a positive first impression, it will also build a foundation to which you can maintain and if necessary, restore trust in any personal or professional relationship.




About Mike McNamara:


Mike has held C-Suite, Executive and Senior Sales, Marketing, Business Development, and General Management roles with Equifax, Cox Enterprises, WW Grainger, and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Mike has led sales, service and operations organizations of over 1,500 associates and accountable for P&L responsibility in excess of $250M.


 Dedicated to giving back, Mike formed The MBAR Group in 2009 with the sole intent of providing pro bono career and business consulting services. Today as founder and CEO of TalentBlvd, he coaches a number of high profile media personalities as well as holding advisory board positions guiding a number of multimedia and small business startups.


Mike earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University and also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University. He is a past chapter President of the American Marketing Association. Mike and family split time between their adopted state of Missouri and family home in NW Michigan where their philanthropic causes include The Kingdom House – St Louis, BACN in Benzonia, MI., and Samaritan’s Purse, Boone NC.


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April 4, 2020