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What are the top five things you look for in a first impression?
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The first impression can be pivotal in any relationship and can determine whether or not a person goes forward with building upon that first meeting. First impressions happen very quickly; basically in the time it takes for someone to give a quick once over. First impressions are determined by a person’s dress, appearance, body language and other characteristics. Whether the relationship is simply social or business there are several things to look for in a first impression. The top five things that I look for in a first impression are the personal appearance, the smile, eye contact, body language and personality.
- Personal Appearance – Personal appearance is very important because first impressions are made with a quick glance. If a person is dressed well and takes care of their appearance this will make for a great first appearance no matter if the situation is personal or professional.
- Smile – A smile and/or facial expressions are also very important and can make a great first impression as well. A winning smile can win anyone over; as long as the smile is confident, warm and sincere then it will create a positive response. Smiling can also change the direction of the meeting since they can be quite catching.
- Eye Contact – The eyes are very important being able to look into someone’s eyes you can really tell a lot about that person. I do not try to solely judge someone on their eyes because there is so much more to a person but that being said some eyes are very telling. If a person makes eye contact that can mean that they are very interested in the conversation or in you so keeping good eye contact is extremely important.
- Body Language – You can tell a great deal from a person’s body language; whether they are uncomfortable or not at ease. If the person is fidgety this can create a wrong impression. So staying calm and being confident can give a great first impression.
- Personality – Bringing across a positive personality is a great way to give a great impression. Being yourself is important but accentuating your positives and eliminating the negatives can make that impression even better. Being positive, courteous and attentive are keys to creating a great first impression. Make sure your true self flows through even if the situation is not a comfortable one.
These top five can vary as well depending on whether the situation is personal or professional and there are many other criteria that are important in making a first impression; having good verbal skills, being attentive, being prepared, being positive and being on time are just a few other significant points.
However that being said I do not always rely on a first impression and usually give people more than one chance to “prove” themselves. I have met people at functions who were less than charming only to find out later that they were sick, or had other things on their minds and had to go to the function even though they did not want. I have also interviewed some people that did not give great interviews but had a wonderful resume, only to find out later that they were perfect for the position. Anything is possible and therefore the first impression is not always the best impression, but it is important to try and make that first impression memorable in a positive way. Making a positive first impression is extremely important because first impressions are created in less than a minute, are rarely ever reversible and can last a lifetime.