First Impressions

First, on this Memorial Day weekend, if you are member or veteran of our armed forces, please let me thank you for your service. I would not be able to ejnoy the life I lead, without your dedication and service. Thank you.

Now, I will bet that when you were very young your mother told you more than once, “You only have one chance to make a first impression – don’t blow it.” She was right, but she probably didn’t know how right she was.

Neuroscience has confirmed that we make first impressions within milliseconds, and those impressions are hard to change.  Think about it. As our ancestors were living in caves and struggling for survival every day.  They didn’t have time to interview every new person they met to decide if they should fight or flee. They developed the mental processes to immediately assess if this was someone they liked, or disliked, so they could react and keep their family safe.  We’ve come a long way since then, but we still have much of that caveman brain.

When you meet a new person, the way that they perceive you in the first few seconds will have a huge impact on their impressions of you.  It is even true on the telephone.  Scientists have found that just by how you say hello tells the caller a lot about you, including your trustworthiness.

If you really want to stretch your mind, watch this Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy . If you’ve seen this before, watch it again. The power of body language is incredible and should not be ignored.  Match her advice with this.  (Sorry but I’m going to sound like your mother again).  When you go for a networking meeting or an interview make sure you are neat, clean, well-groomed and appropriately dressed.  Before you walk into the room, follow Dr. Cuddy’s advice.  Then, stand up straight, put your shoulders back, put a smile on your face, look them in the eye, say “hello” in a clear, confident voice and offer them a firm handshake (when we’re able to do that again).  If you can do those things, the rest of the interview will go much better.  If you are rumpled, smell bad, look at the ground, mumble a greeting and offer a limp handshake, then pack up your resume and head for the door.

Regardless of your circumstances, skills, formal training, what-have-you, you can be confident that you are unique. You are a person of value and a child of God.  You have worth, you can contribute, you can learn, and you can be a positive force for good in your community.  You may or may not be ready to be the next CEO, but you can be successful in whatever job you are applying for. If you believe it, they will too.

Your dream job is out there and waiting for you. Don’t let the first few seconds of your interview block your dream.  Make a good first impression.  If you are struggling, this might help.

One Comment on “First Impressions”

  1. […] purpose of this manners rant?  I wrote a post a while back about the importance of making a good first impression.  You can enhance and sustain that impression by being polite.  When you ask for an […]

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