We all know that first impressions are important, but do we all know why?
What is it that our brain is doing when we first meet someone and do we have any real control over it? Is it really possible that our appearance carries so much weight?
Research from NYU by Dr. Michael Solomon Ph.D. found that we make 11 critical decisions about people in the first 7 seconds that we meet. These decisions affect how we engage with and even whether or not we would work that person.
Furthermore, once we've made those assessments we will then continue to collect information that supports our original perception - not information to refute it. Even if our first impression is incorrect, we will still revert back to it for a long time to come.
Those 11 critical decisions are:
Perceived credibility, believability, competence and honesty
Level of sophistication
Sex role identification
Level of success
(Source: Michael Solomon, PhD, Psychologist, Chairman, Marketing Department Graduate School of Business, NYU.)
Creating the right impression for any situation takes some understanding and forethought.
Consider the following:
Does your wardrobe reflect your professional needs and business brand?
Is your posture and body language engaging and welcoming?
Do you appear confident and knowledgeable on sight?
Does your digital footprint support your professional and personal brand?
Here are 5 quick tips to ensure your first impression is your professional advantage:
Think about what your client or customer needs to see from you before you get ready. i.e. don't wear a suit if you're a gym instructor, don't wear open toes shoes to a board meeting. Ensure you're appearance is 'fit for purpose'.
Always make eye contact.
Shake hands palm-to-palm with equal pressure as the person you're shaking hands with.
Speak clearly. Ask questions and listen actively.
Keep your digital imprint up to date and use a professional headshot.
There's something even better than improved work relationships and business opportunities that come from creating your indelible first impression. You are the first person that sees you everyday. How we feel about our own appearance heavily impacts our confidence.
When we take time to create our 'best self' in aligment with our professional goals and values we lift our own confidence. When we stand taller and speak clearly, make eye contact and genuinely engage with people we are magnetic. And it feels amazing to look incredible and behave with poise and presence.
Some people refer to it as 'fake it till you make it', but I think it's just enjoying your best self now. And that's what success should be all about.
For more tips on making a power first impression, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of my e-Book Influence On Sight - 25 tips to making a powerful first impression.