How important are first impressions?
Statistics say that the average person will make a decision about whether or not they will do business with you within 6 seconds of visiting your website or viewing your profile, and first impressions are within the FIRST second someone. ONE SECOND!
There is no opportunity to make a second impression and seconds truly do count!
Lets translate this to the digital world and your profile and website images.
Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov conducted an experiment in which she had people view a microsecond of video of a political candidate. The results showed that 70 percent of subjects were able to make an instantaneus and very accurate about who would win the election…in a NANO second!
So how do we make an impression that is accurate? Here are some ideas:
You should have a reason for being where you are, when you are. Spend some time considering who you want to meet there and why. Its like previsioning, and its proven that using visualization works towards your end goals. Successful athletes use some form of visualization every day as do businesses, so start setting aside time every day, pre event and even moment to moment in your interactions.
Consider what your suit, watch, shoes, tie, briefcase, and earrings say about you! I know a woman who carries her brochures around in a gold case because she knows how she values her business. Also think about the occassion and location. All require appropriate attire. You do not want to be the odd man out, under, or over dressed. Dress to impress. Im quite knit picky and consider, hair, make-up, nails and polished shoes part of the equation at every meeting I might take.
Be open open open. There isn’t much more of a kiss of death than arms crossed in front of you, or standing face to face at an event that says ‘I’m closed off to you”. The next person that walks by could be a potential client, boss, or business partner. Stand at right angles, keep your circle open for newcomers looking to break in, be aware of your posture, how you walk (watch the high heels ladies), make eye contact, have a firm handshake (I cant TELL you how many wet fish I get), and be confident. Your attitude most CERTAINLY shines though in your personal presentation.
Pick Your Good Days
Lord knows we all have em…the funk, the grump, the tired impatient days. So…if you are having one of these, make a choice. Go do something that will get you out of it (nice run in the park, yoga, meditation, a glass of wine on the beach) or simply stay home. If you make a bad first impression (and people will read it on you in a nano second and run) there is little or no recourse to change that.
People want to be heard. The more you ask, the more they will genuinely think you are interesting as well. They may focus the whole time on themselves, but YOU just made a great impression on THEM by listening. Then you can kill them with your wit and gregariousness when you have coffee next week to discuss opportunities. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
And you’re off…good luck and happy networking!
By Erin Pimm