We've all heard the maxim around the importance of making a strong first impression. Yet, for so many of us, consistently making a great first impression isn't something we really think about...that is, until we hear some of the science around it. It turns out that first impressions--particularly around trustworthiness--are made in literally a tenth of a second. That's about the blink of an eye. Given that remarkably short time, what we can we do for our teams that helps build a positive judgment in such a short time?

Well, it also turns out that it's surprisingly simple to make a good first impression--there is a lot of behavioral science around the idea that a smile, eye contact, and paying attention (note even the phrase "paying attention" implies a cost) create strong connections. Knowing that, think for a moment--when was the last time you interacted with another business and got all three of those? I bet if you did, you told someone about it and will spend more money there.

So...first impressions matter and by working on them we can build better businesses. What's one thing we can all do for free to improve our customer engagement? Smile, give the gift of eye contact, and pay attention--we might all be surprised how effective those choices can be on the quality of our business relationships.

Clark Twiddy, President of Twiddy & Company, is the author of our Leadership Corner, published on our blog the third Tuesday of each month. He can be reached at ctwiddy@twiddy.com.