first impressions

The importance of making a great first impression

Kelly Millar
January 21, 2020

First impressions are crucial. They can make or break an opportunity. It’s human nature to make a judgement about someone when you first meet them, but did you know that people can formulate an opinion about you in less than 20 seconds!

We are hard-wired to make snap decisions about others in a quick, non-reflective way that is unconscious. We are all different, we are raised differently, have different values, educations, come from different backgrounds and sometimes even hold our own prejudices. That’s why we make a snap judgement about someone when we first meet them based on their appearance, accent, tone of voice and what they say to us.

For this reason, it’s vital that your first impression is always your best one. People can change their opinion of you over time, of course they can, but if you don't have long to sell yourself or business idea, then you don’t have a second to waste. And while sadly you can’t make everyone like you, there are some simple steps you can take to make sure that your first impression is your best impression.

Why is it so important to make a good impression?

As J. K. Rowling very wisely said, "A good first impression can work wonders."

It’s almost impossible to make every person you ever meet like you, that’s just part of life. Sometimes we’re just too different from one another and we don’t get on - and that’s fine! But it will make all the difference when you consciously bring your best self to make a good first impression, which can create opportunities, make new connections and open lots of doors for you.

Not only can you make new friends and grow your network, but you could also be offered a great opportunity as a result - a business proposition, a job offer or chance to meet with them again. In terms of business, making a lasting first impression can help you to make a sale or onboard a new client.

How to ensure you always make a great first impression

As stated above, people will make a judgement on you based on your appearance, tone of voice and what you say to them. With this in mind there are some simple steps you can follow to ensure that your first impression is your best:

Always dress for the occasion: Whether it's an interview, blind date or business meeting, ensure you put your best foot forward, give it some thought and dress appropriately for the occasion. If you look good you’ll feel good too.

Be polite -no matter what: There is no real reason to be rude to someone, even if they don’t treat    you with the same respect. Be the best version of yourself and inspire. You can always speak your truth with compassion.

Be Authentic: Whether that’s a formal handshake or a relaxed hug (depending on the person and situation of course), being authentic and making a friendly, positive entrance will leave a lasting impression.

A smile goes a mile: A smile will always go a long way as it is inviting and approachable. No matter where you are or what you're wearing, a genuine smile is always your best accessory.

Tailor your tone: It’s important to be able to read a situation and tailor your tone of voice and language accordingly. Use your experience, intuition and common sense to share your best self for the occasion.

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Is your first impression your best impression? If you’re concerned that your brand isn't showcasing all that you have to offer, we can help. We are expert personal branding consultants in London.
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