One of the biggest challenges I see experienced by many working professionals today is their inability to establish emotional connections. If you’re not establishing emotional connections with your prospects, customers, and employees then you and your company are likely failing to create lasting impressions. These days, the “hard sell” and forceful marketing pitch is not going to work, consumers want to feel seen, heard and understood. They want to feel like companies care about their wellbeing; they want to feel like an actual human being not a dollar amount.

The Four Senses of First Impressions

When I was a young entrepreneur in the late 80s and early 90s, I met a man named Bob McGonigle. He was an amazing mentor and I’ll never forget him. Bob had this innate ability to captivate his audience and when he spoke—people listened. One day, I asked Bob how I could get people to listen to me like they listened to him.

He said, “Before anyone or any group of people truly listens to what you have to say, you have to first establish an emotional connection. You should focus on the four human senses: touch, vision, hearing and speech.”

Bob’s philosophy has stuck with me all these years and I would like to share it with you.

1) Touch: Bob detailed how he has made a habit of shaking the hand of every person he meets and always properly introduces himself. A simple handshake or appropriate touch tends to reinforce a positive feeling and reduces the likelihood of a negative first impression. When introducing yourself to someone, offer a firm, friendly handshake. Think of a handshake as a mirroring moment when two people are both leaning in, smiling, and confirming that they’re both wholly engaged.

2) Vision: Bob also made a conscious decision to look people directly in their eyes while they spoke. He mentioned, that in order to make the person you are addressing feel comfortable, you need to subtly mirror them. Watch them closely and slowly start to copy the gestures that they make. They probably won’t even notice you doing this, but it will subconsciously make them feel more connected to you.

3) Hearing: Bob said that the key to mastering lasting impressions is to listen and then repeat some of the main points that the other person mentions. He said that through a series of questions, he gets people to convey each of their issues independently so that he can then gain a deeper understanding of their challenges and how they are affected by it. By listening intently so he can reiterate key pain points, Bob makes the other person feel like they are deeply understood.

4) Speech: Bob pointed out, that one of the main problems that may people face today is their inability to stop talking. It’s important to not interrupt the other person when they’re speaking, so you can shift your focus on their words and body language. If you’re constantly thinking about your response, then you’re not giving the other person your undivided attention, and this consequently hinders your ability to mirror their words and gestures.

Sometimes, surpassing professional walls and connecting with people on an emotional level can be difficult to accomplish. But, in today’s world, emotional bonds are one of the most memorable connections that you can establish with consumers. It can be the determining factor as to why your brand or company is favored over another. So, the next time you find yourself trying to make a lasting impression, I highly recommend you take Bob’s methodology into consideration.