Impression Management – Why are first impressions so important?

 

Over our next few articles we will cover the idea of first impressions, their importance and how to work on your own personal first impression. We will discuss the things you should do, and the things you should avoid doing when meeting new people, along with how to make a lasting first impression on everyone you encounter.

Why are first impressions so important?

‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ is a saying that has been around for a lifetime. There has always been an emphasis put on the importance of making the best first impression, whether be it in the office or out on the street.

 

Studies have shown that when you meet someone new for the first time, their brain forms an impression of you within the first minute of your encounter. This impression is generally based off non-verbal communication such as your body language which includes your handshake, greeting and posture. When in a work environment this also includes clothing presentation and importantly, your punctuality. Because this initial impression is so instant, it is very important to get it right from the very start. Usually, people have subconsciously decided what they think of you within the first minute of meeting!

 

The Primary Effect

The initial opinions that people gather tend to last for a long period of time, and often they can be very hard to change. Looking at the psychological side as to why first impressions matter, the idea of ‘The Primary Effect’ explains this importance. The primary effect describes how the brain will retain and hold on to information we first learn about something, and how this information outweighs any other information we learn later about the subject. The attention is focused on the first judgments we make, and the brain then uses these judgments to create an initial expectancy about the person. Once we create the expectancy, we automatically process any information to fulfill it and confirm our decision.

 

People are automatically drawn towards individuals with honest and confident personalities. Mastering the art of first impressions and showcasing these qualities through your body language and external behaviors will ultimately ensure you make a positive first impression on everyone you meet. It isn’t about trying to hide who you really are, its learning how to enhance your best qualities and present yourself in the best way possible. You have the power to influence how people initially think of you!

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