Are First Impressions really that important?

You meet someone at a party and think you have a good conversation. But when you later send them a text.  They don’t respond.

You go into a job interview feeling confident and leave feeling like you aced it. But while you keep looking at your phone, expecting a callback, it never comes.

Have situations like these ever happened to you? From your end, you feel like the interaction went well, but it doesn’t seem like the other person felt the same connection. It’s confusing and frustrating.

It may have to do with the first impression you give other people.

First Impressions Rule

Few people realize just how important first impressions are.  You rarely get a second chance.  Just the way it is.

Many studies have shown that first impressions are actually highly accurate in gauging a person’s true personality and abilities. It turns out you can actually judge a book by its cover after all.

The Qualities of a First Impression

Studies have shown that people like other people who are confident and trustworthy, engaging, and, of course, credible and interesting.  Being a good listener doesn’t hurt either.  Listen more than you talk.

The authors of First Impressions explain that people are looking for those who come bearing four social gifts: appreciation, connection, elevation, and enlightenment.

And just how do you develop and acquire these gifts?

It’s really all about having the self-discipline to develop your inner self each and every day.  The Big Four:

  • Character: There is so little character in society now, it is refreshing, almost surprising, to find it in someone.
  • Intellectual Development: Read more and develop your “theory of mind” capability. Fiction is best.  The Great Books are better.  But be careful…making an extraordinarily deep intellectual connection with someone is the first step to seduction…oops…sorry!
  • Empathy: Actively listen to people.  Listen more than you talk.
  • Confidence through Mastery: Ply your trade like it’s the last day of your life.  There is value to others if you are the “best of the best” at what you do.  Take pride.

Working on your first impression then doesn’t mean being fake, but first improving your inner “game,” and then learning how to present your true self in the best possible manner.

What’s so satisfying about mastering the art of first impressions is that it puts you in control of your interactions — it allows you to be perceived as you’d like to be. You’ll have the power to change how people react to you, and get more pleasure from your day-to-day interactions.

So until next time…best of luck in that interview or on the cocktail circuit!

Rob Houghton

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