F-034 First Impressions

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You never get a second chance to make a good first impression

At a previous HAPPEN networking meeting, image consultant Rose Usheroff of the
Usheroff Institute in Toronto related that the Chinese define image as being like three
mirrors that form a person’s reflection –

 The first mirror is how you see yourself
 The second mirror is how others see you
 The third mirror is the truth

First impressions really do count. Ninety per cent of all people will form an opinion
within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. In a sales call or job interview, you will
usually be fully judged within the first four minutes.

The customer or interviewer will spent the rest of the time re-confirming their initial
impression. If it’s negative, you will have a tough, uphill battle. If it’s positive, you have
a much better chance of making the sale, getting the job or getting the next interview for
the job.

Studies by Dr.Albert Mehrabian at UCLA identified - and quantified - the impact of three
communication factors upon which the vast majority people form their first impression –

 55 % visual (how you look and act)
 38 % vocal (how you use your voice)
 7 % verbal (what you say)

So, while what you say is very important, the way you say it is even more important, and,
of even greater importance yet is whether or not your appearance and actions are
congruent with what you are saying and with the way you are saying it.

Remember that the first thing people see accounts for 55% of the impression they get.

This, plus how they hear what’s being said will account for over 90 % of the initial
impression they form.

So, get the words right. (For example, see the HAPPEN 30 Second Info-mercial articles
located at F-011 and F-031.)

Once you’ve identified your audience and have your words
right, practice how you are going to deliver the words. Then make sure that your
appearance (clothing, grooming, body language and energy level) all come together to
make an impression that counts in your favour.

Article written by Wayne Gilbert – February 2003