Check Your First Impression First
Excerpted from “Your Image Talks; How to Win the Pitch, Presentation or Interview” by Gillian Armour
What do we know about first impressions? Why do they have such a strong influence? Scientific research has shown that:
• We all form an impression when we meet someone for the first time.
• First impressions are based on limited information.
• First impressions are based largely on visual cues.
• Attitudes and actions are often driven by first impressions.
• First impressions are, often, accurate.
• First impressions are registered in nanoseconds, (don’t believe the myth of seven, ten, or thirty seconds) are instant, and cannot be undone!
Is it any wonder first impressions are the key to your proposal’s success? Trained recruiters and clients will tell that even though they try to overlook an initial bad impression, it is almost impossible for it not to taint their attitude towards the applicant. If you think that is unfair, or think a client, a manager or senior staff member should be mature enough to overlook superficial impressions, you are simply fooling yourself.
The truth is if you want a successful pitch you must make a spectacular first impression. You can only make a good first impression if you are aware of what nonverbal messages you send.
Researchers disagree on the exact length of time it takes to cement a first impression. What they do agree on is that it happens very quickly. That is hardly enough time to introduce yourself. It does not give you any time to gain an advantage over other applicants. You cannot afford to waste a moment.
So how do you do it? How do you guarantee the impression is a good one, or, better yet, a great one?
The first step is to identify the factors that contribute to your nonverbal communication. Six elements of your personal style create opportunities to impress, which are:
• Your wardrobe choices
• Your grooming habits
• Your eye contact
• Your facial expressions
• Your body language
• Your voice
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