Myanmar's First Image Training Company
The First Impression Really Counts and How to Achieve It
How much do first impressions matter? A great deal, as it turns out. When we say first impressions matter, we don't know the half of it. We’re hard-wired to want the answers to a few vital questions based on those first impressions – such as, is this person that has just come into my field of view a friend or a foe? Is he part of my tribe or not? A potential mate or not?
What’s going on, and what’s in it for speakers? Are audiences going on instantly-formed first impressions of how interesting a speaker is likely to be and if so, what can we do about that?
There’s a well-told adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression. From personal relationships to business meetings, we’re taught that people form opinions of us in a few moments, and that we should be ready to show our best at all times. On both sides of an exchange, we’re advised to trust our guts as our intuitions are telling us something important.
In our society, we put a great amount of energy into helping people form good first impressions, from crafting perfect elevator pitches to touting the importance of a firm handshake. You can be made to feel that if you blow a first impression, you’ll never regain footing.
In one study, participants picked the future winner of a political race based on a quick look at the candidates’ photos. Malcolm Gladwell contends in Blink that our first impressions are fairly accurate and stand the test of time. “It is a central part of what it means to be human,” Gladwell writes. “We thin-slice whenever we meet a new person or have to make sense of something quickly or encounter a novel situation. We thin-slice because we have to, and we come to rely on that ability because there are lots of situations where careful attention to the details of a very thin slice, even for no more than a second or two, can tell us an awful lot.”
Good-looking people have a head start on being perceived well. So what about the rest of us? It’s actually very achievable to nail that crucial first impression. Here are the main things to do:
▪ Be at the top of your game physically. Don’t be excessive: just being fit, eating right and getting adequate sleep will go a long way. Doing those things changes your appearance — including your facial features — in subtle ways, in addition to affecting more obvious aspects such as your weight.
▪ Pay attention to body language. Stand up straight with your shoulders back, relax, and avoid clangers such as fidgeting or crossing your arms over your torso.
▪ Smile, make eye contact and listen.
▪ Focus on making the other person comfortable, rather than any discomfort or nerves you may be experiencing.
▪ Address low self-confidence, and be your unique self. True inner confidence cannot be faked and it can take effort to build it.