Two thirds of adults in the UK rated humour ahead of appearance, intelligence, confidence and a ‘solid handshake’.

Two thirds of UK workers think that showing a sense of humour is crucial to making a successful first impression, according to new research commissioned by Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resorts.

According to their study, as many as 66 percent, or two thirds, of adults in the UK rated humour ahead of appearance (50%), intelligence (39%), confidence (29%) and a ‘solid handshake’ (22%) in the poll published this week.

Surprisingly, it revealed that over a third (35%) of working Brits do not do anything at all to prepare for important business meetings, which can ultimately affect their ability to create a positive first impression.

Discussing the research findings, award-winning behaviourist, motivational speaker and author, Jez Rose said, “The Crowne Plaza brand has commissioned a piece of research into what makes a positive first impression in business and what’s interesting is that you wouldn’t usually expect ‘humour’ to factor more favourably in the findings than appearance… or intelligence even!

“What this tells us is that it’s not about trying to be funny or cracking jokes during your meeting; it’s about conveying a good sense of humour to create a connection,” Rose continued. “This can be done simply by having a cheery disposition and smiling. Sometimes these small things are overlooked in business meetings and yet make all the difference.”

With social media playing a greater role in organisations today than ever before, more than one in three of those surveyed agreed that having the right profile picture is ‘very important’. At the other end of the spectrum, talking over people in meetings and not making eye contact with peers both work to create a negative first impression to colleagues and clients.

When making initial communication with a new contact, email has now overtaken phone calls with 76 percent of workers using this method above more traditional means of communicating. Interestingly, text messaging is very much part of the business mix with almost half (45%) saying they use it to communicate with colleagues or clients. “This is a stark contrast to ten years ago when only one in five working business men and women would think to personally text message their new colleagues or clients,” adds Rose.

When it comes to conducting business in the most successful way, three quarters of people agreed that face-to-face trumps all.