Through my ‘fitted-in-when-I-can’ Social Psychology course on Coursera, I’ve come across some interesting research into Thin Slice methodology (Ambady and Rosenthal, 1992).
Maybe you can judge a book by its cover. It demonstrates how, in less than 5 minutes, people can accurately come to conclusions about the emotions and attitudes of who they’re interacting with. In fact, just 5 seconds are all it takes to set someone’s perception of us and vice versa. A thin slice of their behaviour.
The same could be said for our profile on a dating site or our LinkedIn bios. A few choice words can paint a big picture.Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, also explores Thin Slicing through the work of John Gottman, a well-known marital expert.
Gladwell describes how within an hour of observing a couple, Gottman could gather, with 95% accuracy, whether the couple would still be together within 15 years. But if he watched a couple for just 15 minutes, his success rate was still 90%.
"Thin-slicing is not a unique gift, it is a central part of what it means to be human." Malcom Gladwell
So how do we make a great first impression when not face to face?