Did you know it takes only three to five seconds for someone to form a first impression? And while you might wish that opinion were based on your intelligence or experience, most studies show that first impressions are shaped by what can be seen or heard in those initial few seconds. What impression are you creating?
Harvard research shows that two traits, trustworthiness and confidence, account for 80 to 90 percent of first impressions.
First impressions are important when you want to build a lasting trust. It’s easier to build trust after a breach if you already have a strong relationship.
By now you’ve probably heard it said that “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” The fact is that when you first meet a person, he makes a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and his judgment is finalized largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact. In one survey ¾ of men and women who are responsible for hiring people for large companies generally agreed that they made their decision to hire or not to hire a person within 30 seconds of the first meeting.
The reason why a first impression is so important is because it’s hardwired in the human brain to assess a person within about the first 30 seconds of meeting them.
It’s an evolutionary throwback to the days when you couldn’t be sure if the person who approached you was a friend or a foe. Your first impression was important, because it could very well mean the difference between life and death. Over time, the conclusions we draw from that first impression have changed because our situations have, for the most part, changed as well.
It is so important to capture the attention of a person instantly in the hopes that he or she will take the time to hear what you have to say. Making the all-important first impression with your idea will hopefully result in the decision for someone to invest further in the great ideas you have presented.
One way to ensure a positive first impression is by focusing on managing your image. Elements such as clothing, grooming practices, body language and etiquette and vocal communication are all important. While you cannot control all of your physical features, you do have total control over your dress and grooming. Your clothes are responsible for a large percentage of the first impression that you make on someone because, in most instances, your clothes cover 95 percent of your body.
Image management is important for creating positive first impressions as well as for achieving career aspirations because it helps you:
- Control what others see/perceive
- Enhance others’ perception of you
- Project trustworthiness
- Inspire confidence in your abilities
- Exude friendliness, approachability and likeability
- Open doors to opportunities
- Enhance/elevate your status
Here are 6 tips to projecting a positive impression.
- Analyze your attire (wear clean clothing….no indecencies cover your tattoos)
- Role play your verbal communication
- Evaluate your nonverbal communication / body language (ex. posture, smile hand shake, eye contact-don’t fidget)
- Examine your attitude (smile–positive-focus-intention-be confident-relax)
- Scrutinize your grooming (practice good hygiene)
- Be interested and interesting (its often contagious, have a sense of humor)
If you can master the First Impression, you will find more success in nurturing communications and onsite relationships with those whom you deal with on a daily basis.