I was recently reading a Psychology Today article about first impressions. Whether on a first date or a job interview, we know the obvious such as dress well, smile, make eye contact, etc. Yet this article went on to discuss research findings that may not be so obvious, particularly ways that our environment can affect how we perceive others and how others perceive us. Here are three hidden gems to help you make a good first impression.

Warmth. Holding a hot cup of coffee or tea rather than an iced beverage can lead you to perceive the other person as more warm, empathic, and nurturing. Who would have thought?

Stability. Sitting at a shaky table or an off-balanced chair can lead you to perceive the other person as not being responsible or reliable. The same can be said for tottering on stilettos.

Cleanliness. Meeting in a dirty environment can lead you to perceive the other person as morally impure or ethically questionable, whereas a clean environment leads to perceptions of high morality and ethical standards.

So the next time you want to make a good first impression, don’t forget the environment…ensure it is warm, stable, and clean. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?

“We don’t know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility.” Malcolm Gladwell