The “first impression” opportunity

Posted by Admin, Thu 24 August 2023

When it comes to meeting new people, we all know that first impressions count. But what about in the workplace? Whether you’re joining a new team or stepping into a management role, making a strong first impression can set the tone for your success.

The key is to reframe a first impression as the “quick win” opportunity it really is. One that can help you build credibility and establish trust, instantly.

“Your first impression sets the tone for everything that follows. It’s critical to establish credibility and trust from the outset.” – Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors

A positive first impression can create a strong foundation for effective communication, collaboration, and productivity. However, a negative first impression can create obstacles and limit opportunities for success. It’s important to be aware of nonverbal cues and to take the time to build relationships and establish trust over time. The quote attributed to Will Rogers rings true: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

A study by Harvard Business Review found that a strong first impression can lead to better overall evaluations, higher trust, and greater cooperation. Additionally, a survey by CareerBuilder found that 66% of employers said that they would be less likely to promote someone who had a negative first impression. Our nature still biases us to weigh up others instantly – their conscientiousness, collaborative capacity, threat level, openness/friendliness and many other micro-assessments made that contribute to that gathering of first impressions.

So this is why it’s worth paying attention to moments that really matter, such as first impressions moments. It’s easy to say, but also easy to forget: make the time to prepare for important meetings, introductions and interviews. Whether that means researching the company or individual you’ll be meeting with, scenario-planning, practicing your delivery, or simply ensuring that you’re well-rested.

First impressions may not always be lasting impressions. But the point is: they can be. Therefore they represent an opportunity for us all to sharply influence the perceptions of others.

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