You've got just 60 days to prove yourself on a new job - and just seven seconds to make a good first impression. Seven seconds is all that people need to start making up their minds about you, says Roger Ailes. Formerly a top Republican strategist and now chairman and CEO of Fox News, Ailes is one of the world's leading practitioners of the smart art of personal persuasion. He is also the author, with Jon Kraushar, of You Are the Message, an insightful guide to mastering public and private speaking. Here are three of his best, battle-tested tips for delivering your message quickly and powerfully.
Amp up your attitude.
"When meeting someone for the first time, concentrate on one thing: your energy level," Ailes says. "If you don't demonstrate an energetic attitude on your first day, you're already screwing up."
Recognize face value.
"Many people, particularly business executives, believe a poker face is a strategic advantage," writes Ailes. "Sometimes it is. But often, you only gain complete credibility with an audience when they feel you're completely open. The viewer generally perceives the warmer, more vulnerable personality as being stronger and less afraid."
Give your message a mission.
"Let other people just blab. But when you talk, have an agenda," he says. "True story: As we neared the launch date for the 24-hour Fox News channel, people were burning out. So I started holding 4 a.m. meetings as a way to force a change in people's attitudes. The meetings helped me discover who could stay on their feet - and who would get crushed."
Coordinates: $14. You Are the Message: Getting What You Want by Being Who You Are. Currency/Doubleday, 800-431-0725; www.bdd.com/currency
A version of this article appeared in the June/July 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.