The importance of making good first impressions

Ever had a gut feeling about someone within minutes of meeting them? Well it turns out that it actually only takes

Ever had a gut feeling about someone within minutes of meeting them? Well it turns out that it actually only takes three seconds for us to make up our mind about someone, or them about us.

Although it may not seem fair or correct, it is something that happens in our subconscious and we have very little control over it. No matter how hard we try to keep an open mind, before someone even finishes introducing themselves they have already made an impression.

The downside of this is that once we have made a bad first impression it is very hard to change it. SMH report that Roy Morgan Research and Servcorp conducted a survey this month which showed 67 per cent of participants believed that a good first impression was very important.

Equally as interesting is the fact that 66 per cent of participants are also willing to give people a second chance if they have made a poor first impression. However, 75 per cent won’t contact someone who has made a bad impression for a month, or more, after the initial meeting.

Marcus Moufarriage, Sevcorp chief operating officer, spoke to SMH saying, “A good first impression is a great way to start a conversation.”

“It goes a long way to building trust and if you create a bad first impression you spend a long time trying to win back their confidence.”

It is not just what we say that can influence these impressions, our body language also plays a pivotal role. Research indicates that the rate at which body language influences impressions could be as high as 90 per cent. The important things to think about are: your appearance, body movement and gestures, facial expressions and eye contact.

Maintaining good posture, confidence with the way you move your body and eye contact when you are speaking with someone goes a long way towards creating a positive impression.

Dr Les Parrot’s book, 3 Seconds: The Power of Thinking Twice, claims that there are only six predictable impulses that we accept without a thinking twice. These impulses are immune to doubt or considering other avenues as they are so embedded in our brains.

“Studies have shown that it takes just three seconds to register a negative impression in your brain,” Dr Parrot says.

“Not only that, there are half a dozen impulses that lead to mediocrity unless we pause and give them a second thought.”

SMH reports that these six impulses are:

  1. Giving up without trying
  2. Rejecting a challenge
  3. Settling for the status quo
  4. Avoiding responsibility
  5. Doing the bare minimum
  6. Avoiding taking action

Have you formed a negative first impression about someone and changed your mind later?