” The first impressions individuals give to others could greatly influence how they are treated and viewed in many contexts of everyday life ” (Wood, 2014)
Anyone that tells you that first impressions don’t matter, simply stay away from them! First impressions play a huge role in everyday encounters. They take just a tenth of a second to formulate, and they almost never change
(Willi & Todorov, 2016). Don’t forget that these are deal makers or deal breakers and they happen almost instantly. Below I will be sharing with you situations that this is most evident, and in brief my 5 steps of how to win at first impressions.
One of the fields that this is evident and true, is the field of sales. Within the first few seconds that a customer interacts with you or enters your business they will feel either familiar with you or distant to you, based on the image you put forward. Upon seeing and greeting, the customer will already have had their first impression of you. If that impression is a good one, then more likely the customer will proceed in doing business with you. However if the first impression is not a good one, then you can expect that the rest of the discussion is more likely to hit roadblocks.
Another area where I have experienced that first impressions can make or break the deal, is at job interviews. Luckily enough for me, I have sat on both sides of the table, as an interviewer and as a candidate, and have helped quite a handful of people perform in their interviews and securing the job they were after. Most emphasis was given not so much on the experience, but on the first impressions. How will you dress, how will you interact, how you will greet, even how to start and conclude their answers.
Still not convinced that first impressions matter? How about dating? It is the first impression of the person you take an interest in at a given moment that will either drive you to walk up and say “Hi”, or simply just let that person pass by. That person could well be the most interesting person in the world, with the perfect character to match yours, however that first impression wasn’t good enough for you to simply walk up to them, or continue the conversation, or make that phone call to them.
Five steps to give you that desirable First Impression:
- Be presentable – Look after yourself, dress properly, be clean, and look the part (physical appearance/visual)
- Smile – Facial characteristics are always copied by whoever you are talking to (ever spoken to a smiley person? You smile too! )
- Handshake – Always shake hands. On introduction and conclusion of a discussion, as a sign of respect and politeness.
- Eye contact – Always look in the eyes of whomever it is your having a conversation with.
- Speak clearly and use short sentences – Long sentences tend to loose meaning and focus. Also, adjust your tone of voice and don’t hesitate in adding excitement to it (also applicable in phone sales)
As mentioned at the beginning, first you need to accept and realise the importance of first impressions. People who tell you otherwise, are simply background noise. Any successful person in business and life will tell you the same thing, that first you need to become aware of how others will perceive you based on their first impression of you, and then work on how you can get ahead in this game of first impressions.
I hope you have found this topic interesting and useful. What do you think about it? All feedback and comments are welcomed.