First Impressions



A Quarter of a Second?

What about a person’s worth beyond the first glance?

This research can help us understand the importance of our appearance, body language and eye contact. The way we look and groom ourselves is an indication of caring enough to dress for the occasion and shows what matters to us before we ever open our mouths.  Often, assumptions are made that the quality of our appearance will match the quality of our work.

For speakers, an audience is quickly deciding if they will trust them and if they have anything worthwhile to say. Body Language is being observed, facial expressions, tone of voice and clothing are all being assessed in a quarter of a second.

Having a pulled together look is good, but do you have the depth of personal growth to go along with the look?

By deciding whom you want to be and how you want to be and transforming yourself into the kind of person you admire, you have to start from the inside. Can you “fake it till you make it?” Some say you can. To truly become someone impressive with depth and wisdom, the work must be done deep inside, not solely on the surface. If you build a machine poorly, it won’t work well. But if you make it strong, it will have the right components for a useful, working machine. Modeling after someone you admire is good, but only if you prepare and put in the time. We can work on enhancing who we are on the inside and everything else will be enhanced as well. If you learn to manage your mind, you can lead others well. Try staying in a peaceful state to enable your body and mind to work best in its highest possible way. This includes learning to become responsive rather than reactive. You will become impressive by practicing the skills that make you trustworthy, approachable, non judgmental and dependable. True growth from the inside-out can portray leadership skills and you’ll be “practicing what you preach” and “walking the walk”not just “faking it until you make it.”

I can easily show people how to make a good and lasting impression. We can practice introductions, handshakes, body language and talk about clothing. The larger task may be to add the character trait of not being the type of person who draws conclusions in under a second. To me, being impressive includes being able to look past the exterior of an individual. A person’s true worth is not found on the surface and takes longer than a few seconds to discover. We must dig deeper and get to know people on a 3 dimensional level even though research tells us that we all tend to be influenced by looks.

Actor, Alan Alda said it well. “It’s a complex world. I hope you’ll learn to make distinctions. A peach is not its fuzz, a toad is not its warts, a person is not his or her crankiness. If we can make distinctions, we can be tolerant, and we can get to the heart of our problems instead of wrestling endlessly with their gross exteriors.”

By having a professional look that sets you apart from others and having depth through personal growth, you will be an impressive person. When you are assessed in a quarter of a second, the genuine skill of looking beyond a person’s exterior and seeing the best in others will be noticed. To me, that is making a good first impression!