The Power of First Impressions

woman talks creates impression to college
by Vance Larson

You’ve been judged. Yes you. Every time you meet someone for the first time, they are judging, or forming an opinion of you. That is the power of first impressions. Because once that judgement or opinion is made, they spend the rest of that encounter looking for things to support it. Furthermore, once that impression is made, there is little we can do to change that, despite evidence showing otherwise. And for the most shocking factor, it takes about 7 seconds to form said opinion. Boom! You’ve been judged. 

I think for me, that’s why I am pretty much myself no matter what the environment or setting. I am a caring professional that walks a little on the hippie side, and on occasion, lets an expletive fly. In other words, what you see is what you get. No I don’t make everything public. But, if you were my client and bumped into me at the store or on vacation, you’re going to see the same guy. Slightly more polished in a professional setting. But, if you’ve stalked my social media for example, you would find that same positive, laid back person that you would see when I am dressed to the nines. You simply would have no where to go with your opinion, because I am what I am.

Don’t be so different from who you really are

First impression are important. So don’t be so different from who you really are, because it won’t translate as authentic. So what are you being judged on? Studies show that it is a combination of things. Some we can control, and other we cannot. The three things we are most judged on are-

1. Physical appearance. That’s no surprise to anyone. People who take care of themselves seem to get a pass, rather than those who do not. But in reality this is not fair. Because physical appearance includes height, weight and even facial structure. And, we also take into consideration hygiene, what we wear, and how we wear it. 

2. How you speak. Vocal inflection brings people closer in, or pushes them away. 

3. Calm and Centred. You may not think the energy you bring into the room is noticeable, but it is.

So what’s the magical formula on not being judged? I don’t think there is one. I think the best we can do is be true to ourselves. Don’t wear a mask, because even if we are successful at our first encounter, we’ll have to continue to wear that mask indefinitely. It’s kind of like bringing your “A game” into a new relationship, only to hear that you’ve changed 6 months down the road. When the fact is that you didn’t change. It’s just you stopped wearing the mask. 

Confidence is key in first impressions. I believe that it is every bit as important as authenticity. And if confidence is something you lack, you can always improve your confidence through education and develop your sense of self-belief. When you belief in yourself you are more likely to make a great first impression.

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