Newsletter April 03
Within 30 seconds of meeting you, people have judged your educational level, socioeconomic level, and your level of ‘success’.
Within 4 minutes they’ve gained a generally ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ view of you based on how confident, trustworthy, friendly, reliable and intelligent you appear.
And …first impressions are usually lasting impressions.
Is this fair? Probably not.
However, fair or not, if we don’t give a good first impression, people may not wait long enough to discover our wonderful inner qualities!
First impressions are based on emotion, not logic, and focus initially on what we see, and then on what we hear.
So what can we do to create a good first impression?
To be welcomed into a particular ‘world’ the outer image we project is important. People do judge a book by its cover, so the better we can package ourselves, the more likely we are to be accepted.
Creating your First Impressions Package:
1. Be prepared
Work out in advance who you will be speaking to and meeting with. How will they dress? Behave? Communicate?
Prepare yourself accordingly
2. Project a positive image
People want you to look and sound:
· Confident and assured
· At ease
· and as if you can Relate to them
a) How you look
· Appearance: clothes, hair, shoes, etc.
· Body posture: sit or stand tall. To practise, set a beeper to go off every half-hour, then check your posture!
· Eye contact: while speaking, we alternate between gazing at, and gazing away. We have more direct gaze when we like the other person, and less eye contact when we dislike or disagree with them.
· Facial expressions: our face ‘speaks for itself’; it reveals emotions, opinions, and moods. Emotionally, the face is mightier than the word.
b) How you sound
Remember you can sound confident without being confident
Speak with conviction as if you really believe in what you are saying. Speak slowly and enunciate clearly.
Don’t weaken what you say by using tag-questions, eg “We did, didn’t we?” or hedge words such as “kind of” “I think”, or “um” you know”.