Written by Vineet Sethi
With each new encounter, you are assessed, and yet another person’s impression of you is formed.
We have all heard the saying that the interviewer, or a stranger at a party, forms an impression of you, your character, your personality – an almost irrevocable impression – within the first 60 seconds of meeting you.
I know this sounds harsh, but we are wired as humans to judge people in the first few seconds of meeting them, and often, our opinions are unchanging.
We form an inaccurate or inconsistent view of a person’s qualities the moment we meet them for the first time. We also become attached to our initial impressions of others and have trouble changing our opinions.
Whether this interaction is via telephone or face-to-face, your first impression sets the tone for your experience. The first impression is established at the very first moment of contact and will determine the perceived quality of the entire experience.
Bestselling author Seth Godin in his book “All Marketers Are Liars,” says:
Every business owner knows first impressions are important, but what you might not know is just how little time you have to create one.
No matter how you are making a first impression on customers and contacts, it is essential that you act fast to avoid facing the consequences of having a bad or missing first impression. Anything less could destroy the one shot you have to create a great first impression.
Here are a few tips to make a great first impression:
- The best way to create a great impression is by being your authentic self. Being confident, even when you are not feeling courageous, will give off a confident vibe. A feeling of cheeriness will positively affect the impression that you make.
- A sincere smile will go into the eyes and give an impression of confidence and sincerity. A warm, trusting smile puts you and the other person at ease.
- The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you, so your physical appearance is often the first clue they will have about what you are about. Make sure that what you are wearing and how you are doing your hair or makeup say what you want it to say to the person you are meeting for the first time.
- Standing tall, with your body showing good posture, will help make an excellent first impression. Being expressive – mainly showing positive emotions such as joy and happiness – can create a positive first impression. When someone approaches you for a talk at an event, nonverbal communication, like the tone of voice and body language, will determine if that person is likely to make an excellent first impression or a bad one.
- When speaking with someone for the first time, do not be concerned with getting lots of information out quickly – although this might feel like a quick way to impress others, it may overwhelm them.
- Use email to nurture and reinforce that all-important positive perception even after that first contact.
- When we encounter someone on the phone, the voice alone gives cues. What a person says and how it is said will dictate the first impression.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so that picture you first show needs to show who you are to the person you are meeting.
(Picture credits: Pexels)
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