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In fact, we may have four basic emotions, according to the study: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.Since both anger and disgust share a wrinkled nose, and both surprise and fear share raised eyebrows, the study finds that they are actually the same deep down in our unconscious minds.
We develop the differences between surprise and fear and between anger and disgust, more for social reasons than survival ones.
That means at a deep level, you’ve got basically four ways to show up in front of an audience in making your first impression, and your facial expressions will signal one of those four to the waiting unconscious minds of the audience before you. And given the tendency of all of us to be afraid before we start to speak, the odds are good that we’ll signal and transmit that emotion – unless we work specifically on showing up with one of the others.
We have mirror neurons that fire when we see (unconsciously) someone else come into view. Our mirror neurons match their emotions precisely. So if that person is nervous, they make us nervous. We literally leak our emotions to each other.
Think of this in the context of a job interview. If you walk into the interview room agitated, you’ll agitate the interviewer. Then he/she will probably want to terminate the interview faster than is good for your job prospects because being agitated is uncomfortable. If, on the other hand, you sail into the room oozing confidence and joi de vivre, you’ll make the interviewer happy and comfortable, and raise the odds hugely that you’ll get the job.
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A great deal, as it turns out. When we say first impressions matter, we don't know the half of it. We’re hard-wired to want the answers to a few vital questions based on those first impressions – such as, is this person that has just come into my field of view a friend or a foe? Our conscious minds can handle roughly 40 bits of information a second.
How does the unconscious mind handle those first impressions? If you walk into the interview room agitated, you’ll agitate the interviewer.
We have mirror neurons that fire when we see (unconsciously) someone else come into view. So if that person is nervous, they make us nervous. Then he/she will probably want to terminate the interview faster than is good for your job prospects because being agitated is uncomfortable.
How about showing up happy, rather than sad, afraid, or angry? By focusing on that emotion the way an actor does preparing for a scene.
Recall a time when you felt that emotion strongly and naturally.