Consider First Impressions like First Dates

BY Nathan Hollis |

Can you remember your first date with someone you found attractive? I can! 

How long did it take you to decide what you were going to wear, how you would stand, speak or smile – you played it out in your mind, right? And yet when we have an important meeting with a potential client, a good impression to make on our boss, or a job interview for a career move – we don’t go to as much trouble as our first date.

People size us up quickly and change their minds slowly. Researchers tell us that somewhere between eleven milliseconds and five minutes, people make judgments that do not differ from impressions made after much longer periods.

Dianna Booher, American author and communication expert, says, “Packaging and preparation can pay off handsomely. Consider the difference packaging makes in how much you are prepared to pay for an item”. Presence has much to do with perception.

If you want to impress, you need to know what works and what doesn't. Here are some things to consider:

  • Look in the mirror and ask yourself: Is this the best I can look today?
  • Know yourself and the purpose – what are you trying to convey?
  • Consider your accessories. Do you have a bulging handbag, tired shoes or worn out watch?
  • How do you move, sit, stand and present yourself?
  • Was your handshake acceptable? Was it a proper handshake or were you just holding their hand? 
  • Make eye contact. Looking someone in the eye conveys that you are confident and interested in what they have to say. 
  • Speak clearly. Many people have wonderful things to say but don’t speak with any confidence.
  • Consider your first impression like first dates, you rarely forget them.

It can be the little things that make a difference to how people perceive you. Whenever you walk into a room, you assess the scene; expect others to do the same. Take time to consider what impression you want to make it, and how you will do so.

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