Blind spots, First Impressions, and People Skills with Jordan Harbinger

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“You can build the communication skills, which will build the personality, which will allow you to create the relationships that will then guide you to success. It's not about being born into it.” – Jordan Harbinger

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jordan Harbinger, social dynamics expert, podcast host, and entrepreneur. Jordan is a champion for helping others develop their people skills, communicate effectively, and enrich their connections.

We discuss: 

  • Taking control of first impressions 
  • Learning and addressing blind spots 
  • The overlap of business and relationships

Taking control of first impressions

Taking control of first impressions

We all know the scene—you’re going to a gathering with lots of new faces, there’s a ball of nerves in your stomach, and you change what you’re wearing three times, with thoughts along the lines of, “I want them to like me.” or “I hope I don’t do anything embarrassing,” running through your mind.

Meeting new people is one of the longstanding causes of anxiety, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to be born with natural charisma and charm to make good first impressions and have engaging social interactions.

There are a few crucial elements to keep in mind when looking to improve your charisma, and the good news is they're all learnable. One of these aspects revolves around taking control of your first impression.

“A lot of times people think ‘oh, well, I'm not making a bad first impression, or I don't want to make a negative first impression.’ Making no first impression is bad because what that means is you're not managing your first impression.” Jordan explains, “The problem is, people are judging you, you can't prevent that. So if you hide, or you try to be quiet, or you put yourself in the corner, you're in trouble.”

The answer to making a good first impression does not lie in shrinking yourself—people are going to form opinions whether you’re the loudest in the room or the quietest.

When we leave less room for assumptions—which, unfortunately, sway towards the uncharitable—we take the reins on how people see us.

“Very seldom is it that you see a quiet person in a conversation and go, ‘oh, this person is probably sweet and kind and good-natured, and they're just shy.’ Many people would go, ‘oh, this person doesn't feel like engaging with us,’ because we project our insecurities onto that blank canvas.” Jordan continues.

We can’t prohibit people from judging us; we can only manage and try to change how they perceive us by keeping that fact in mind.

Jordan suggests focusing on three main areas:

  • Posture—are you open or closed off?
  • Expression—are you smiling or stone-faced?
  • Eye contact—are you holding an appropriate amount of eye contact?

A first impression starts the moment you walk into a room. How do you want people to perceive you?

Learning and addressing blind spots

Learning and addressing blind spots

Blind spots take many forms—from differences in perspectives to unconscious bias—for Jordan, he had to recognize the differences in his work ethic due to his upbringing as an only child versus the upbringing of his co-workers, who, mostly, had siblings.

He learned that what he saw as using initiative was seen as polarizing or exclusionary and worked to incorporate more collaboration and feedback into his workflow.

“Everyone has little foibles and little issues. The question is, does it rise to the level of destroying or harming the relationships that that person's in?” He shares.

The way we look at the world impacts every part of our lives. If we have healthy relationships with our siblings, our parents, and our partner, we’re likely to operate differently than if we were in toxic or imbalanced relationships.

Of course, this generalization does not apply to everyone. However, those relationships, whichever form they’re in, affect how we work, collaborate, and interact with our peers.

Learning our blindspots and being willing to hear alternative perspectives unlocks a more fulfilling working life and smoother team environments.   

The overlap of business and relationships

The overlap of business and relationships

At the beginning of a new job, it may feel much like the early stages of a relationship. Everyone seems great, works together seamlessly, and is on their best behavior. That stage does not last indefinitely without some hard work, as any long-term couple will tell you.

“Business is like a marriage. You're in a legal relationship with people whether you like it or not. You can break it up, but it's going to cost you a lot of money. So you need to learn to work stuff out because these same patterns are going to recur in other relationships.” Jordan explains.

That’s why the same rules of charisma that cause success in the dating world almost (almost!) always apply to the world of business. Transferable skills such as non-verbal communication, listening, and being open-minded prove revolutionary tactics across the board.

The best news is that these are all learnable skills. “They are absolutely learnable and teachable. It's based on verbal and nonverbal communication patterns that are something that anybody can master.” he continues, “It's a very common excuse for people to say, ‘well, you either have it or you don't,’ nobody who has it says you either have it or you don't.”

Whenever we look for reasons we can't do something and hinge that belief on the fact that we don’t possess XYZ natural talent or trait, we risk programming ourselves out of achieving our goals.

“You can build a charismatic and magnetic personality through a series of skills. You can build the communication skills, which will build the personality, which will allow you to create the relationships that will then guide you to success. It's not about being born into it, you can do better than somebody who's born into it if you’re intentional,” he continues.

If you're intentional about the process, you can learn it.

What impression do you want to make when you enter a room? What areas of charisma do you want to develop, and what’s something you can do today toward that goal?

Be sure to check out Jordan’s full episode for more insights and follow The Jordan Harbinger Show, which has become one of the fastest-growing podcasts in the world and was awarded “Best of 2018″ by Apple.