Make a fabulous first impression

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Make a fabulous first impressionIt takes only a few seconds for someone to make a judgment about you the first time they meet you. And that initial impression is seldom reversed, so first impressions really do matter. Whether they are for dating, job interviewing, or other purposes, decades of research on primary and recency effects suggest that we especially tend to remember first and last interactions and impressions. So, whether you are looking for a job, a date, or a favour from a stranger, it is important to make first impressions count and count big!

In many ways, this is why speed dating (or speed interviewing) makes a whole lot of sense. We form judgments about people quickly and with very little information. So, why suffer through a long and dragged out interview process or date when you know within a few minutes if you have interest in the other party or not?

So here is my list of five top strategies for a fabulous first impression.

1. Be yourself … but be your best self.

Ethics are important and faking it to be someone who you are not is ethically problematic as well as just unsustainable. You can’t keep up false impressions for very long unless you have an antisocial personality disorder. So, you should be yourself but try very hard to be your very best self.

2. Get yourself organised and centred before having the first interaction.

Whether it is a job interview or a date finding a few minutes to organise and centre yourself will likely pay big dividends. Perhaps spending even a minute in meditation, prayer, or repeating a favorite mantra may be productive. What do you do to organise and centre yourself? Recently I’ve used a one-minute meditation in all of my classes teaching at Santa Clara University. Before class, we spend one minute in silent meditation. I’ve been impressed with the results and students seem to be too.

3. Pay close attention to your non-verbals.

Your words can be deceptive but your non-verbal communication tends to speak volumes of truth. Pay attention to your posture, manner, eye contact, and other non-verbal communications and ask yourself what they are communicating about you.

4. Clothes matter.

I’m no fashionista or fashion forward kind of guy by any means but it is true that clothes and grooming matter. It matters in terms of how others judge you as well as how you behave too. So, attend to your clothes, grooming, and so forth to send the message that you want to send.

5. It’s never about you.

It is way too easy to be narcissistic and focus on yourself during initial interactions. Big mistake in my view. Focus on the other as much as you can. Attend to the other person by asking questions and try to see the world through their eyes. Not only will you likely connect better but you’ll find yourself freer to be your best self that is likely to be more thoughtful and compassionate too.

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one!

Written by Thomas G Plante, Ph.D, this article originally appeared in Psychology Today

IMAGE: Sean De Burca/

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  1. Carlene

    All essential tips for making a great first impression and it makes a huge difference to how you present yourself.

    6 years ago •

  1. Cupcake

    I’ll certainly use these tips for when I go for a Job interview, first impressions are extremely important.

    6 years ago •

  1. Pseudo_kate

    My friend relies on rescue remedy for moments when she needs a bit of help. It works for her but sometimes I think its more of a placebo effect.

    6 years ago •

  1. Ayesh

    Wow. I really enjoyed reading this one. However, there’s one thing he does not really expand on, and that’s the issue about nerves. It’s so easy to mess up an interview if you’re nervous. Despite the well-groomed appearance, the attention to clothes, etc. if the nerves take over, it all falls flat! :/

    6 years ago •

  1. Pulane

    great facts, first impressions is critical

    6 years ago •

  1. Lauren

    I think the biggest problem most interview candidates have is the lack of confidence and in others its the constant “must tell you everything about me” syndrome.

    Great read.

    6 years ago •

  1. Anne

    First impressions are definitely lasting

    6 years ago •

  1. smiley

    Great article, its best to follow the advice, very useful.

    6 years ago •

  1. ricebunny

    Totally agree! Make it count as it will be your last

    6 years ago •

  1. foreverGLAM

    Great article. All the tips are so relevant.

    6 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one! Best part of the article… Give it your all and as nike says Just Do it!

    6 years ago •

  1. BeautyBloggess

    Great tips. I’m useless at remembering names so I try to make sure when I meet someone, I use their name three times before I leave. Helps it stick in my head.

    6 years ago •

  1. Tasha

    This will be very useful info for interview. It is going in to my favorites right away.

    6 years ago •

  1. Angelisha

    Its all about inner confidence! With inner confidence one is also confident of the outer!

    6 years ago •

  1. Mpoyif

    Good Advice. I will certainly try the meditation tip

    6 years ago •

  1. Le Noir Pearl

    Clothes do matter and the LOOK also!love this article

    6 years ago •

  1. Botes

    Great read, good to remember when going for important meetings and interviews.

    6 years ago •

  1. Rochelle Stewart

    It’s true what they say – First impressions last…

    7 years ago •

  1. honey_child

    A very useful article especially when interviewing.

    7 years ago •

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