Research has shown it takes only three to five seconds for someone to form a first impression. And most of those impressions are formed not based on your intelligence or experience, but what is seen and heard in those initial first seconds. So, you might want to ask yourself…what impression are you creating.
Harvard Business School social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, has studied first impressions and found that when meeting someone for the first time, we form not one impression, but two. “We’re judging how warm and trustworthy the person is and how strong and competent this person is,’” states Cuddy. Her research shows that these two traits, trustworthiness and confidence, account for 80 to 90 percent of first impressions.
One way to ensure a positive first impression is by focusing on managing your image. According to the Image Consulting Business Institute, image management is the “ongoing, pro-active process of evaluating and controlling the impact of your appearance on you, on others, and the achievement of your goals. It is a science and an art that provides a framework, addressing all the elements – clothing, grooming practices, body language and etiquette and vocal communication.”
What does your current image say about you? Does your image project the impression that you are competent, confident, trustworthy and approachable? Or, does your image tell people you’re stressed, indecisive, overwhelmed and/or unreliable?
Lisa Quast, contributing writer for Forbes, offers the following tips to ensure you are making the best first impression possible.
Tip #1: Focus on your attire. Do your clothes project an appropriate personal image? For example, if you’re trying to cultivate an executive presence, do you dress the part by wearing suits? If you want people to view you as creative, do your clothing (and jewelry) choices reflect your individual creativity?
Tip #2: Analyze your verbal communication. Do you speak clearly, professionally and at an appropriate pace and decibel level when first meeting someone? Ask a friend to role-play and look for ways you can modify your verbal communication to create an impactful first impression.
Tip #3: Evaluate your non-verbal communication. Do you have a firm handshake while avoiding the infamous death grip? Practice non-verbal communication, such as shaking hands firmly (but not too firm) and establishing good eye contact to ensure you aren’t doing anything that could damage a good first impression.
Tip #4: Examine your attitude. Do you smile when first meeting someone, even if you’re busy and have other things on your mind? Are you focusing on that person and giving them your full attention? If not, you might be harming your image.
Tip #5: Scrutinize your grooming. Does your hair (and make-up) project the image you think it is? Maybe it’s time to consult a stylist for an updated style or sit down with a make-up artist to create a different look.
Taking the time to manage your image will improve the odds of making a positive first impression in those initial three to five seconds and will help you exude confidence and trustworthiness in almost any situation.
At Green Hills Office Suites, we believe first impressions are crucial for business success. Green Hills Office Suites is Nashville’s premier office solution. Our full-service office space and virtual office solutions give you the space, place, and support your business needs. Our committed, hard-working support staff are here to answer your phone calls in your company’s name, provide call forwarding and screening, reception services, mail receipt, and a host of other administrative services. In an industry where first impressions are lasting impressions, our first-class business center and support staff give your business the notoriety and distinction it deserves.
To learn more, call 615-334-0960 or visit us on the web at GreenHillsOfficeSuites.com.