The first impression that you give others might not be the real you. You may be very outgoing at that moment, but actually you be may be a shy, self centred person or you may not reveal your thoughts or feelings readily. You may act sophisticated, but actually you are really simple-minded. If the first impression might not show the real you, why is it so important?
The ancient Greeks spent a lot of time thinking and writing about the effect of one personality on another. They broke down the process of communication into three parts, which they called ethos, pathos and logos.
The ethos of communication is defined as the ethical part. This revolves around the person you really are and, more important, the person you are perceived to be. If you are in sales or business, the way you are perceived by someone, which will largely determine the influence you have over him or her, will be strongly affected by your level of credibility, your ethos. In the area of personal credibility, the rule is that everything counts. Everything you do or don’t do either adds to or takes away from your credibility and your capability to influence someone.
Perhaps the simplest example of the application of this rule, that everything counts, involves your image or appearance. You’ve heard it said that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The fact is that when you first meet a person, he makes a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and his judgment is finalized largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact. In a survey of the members of the American Personnel Consultants ¾ of those men and women who are responsible for hiring people for large companies members generally agreed that they made their decision to hire or not to hire a person within 30 seconds of the first meeting.
Everything Counts: Make a Personal Statement
Everything contributing to the way you look on the outside is important. If it’s not helping you, it’s hurting you. While you cannot control your physical features, you have total control over your dress and grooming. In fact, we generally assume that a person consciously and deliberately makes a personal statement about himself with every part of his appearance that he can affect in any way.
Your clothes are responsible for 95 percent of the first impression that you make on someone because, in most instances, your clothes cover 95 percent of your body. Your grooming, your hair style and the other ways you can determine your appearance from the neck up also exert an inordinate influence on the way that you are perceived, on your ethos with someone. Your accessories, such as purse or briefcase, watch, tie, tie pin, rings, pens and other elements, all make a statement that will or will not help to put you in a position to influence someone.Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
Take complete control over every detail of your personal appearance and grooming. Resolve to look like a powerful, influential person in all your business activities.
First and foremost, you need to look like you take care of yourself. This means paying attention to your fingernails, hair, eyebrow hair, facial hair and for a woman makeup. Xcite™ believes that you need to make sure that your fingernails are clean and trimmed or nicely manicured. If you wear makeup, you should make sure it doesn't draw attention to itself, but is used to highlight your features.
Don't forget to also pay attention to your feet. Xcite™ knows that the biggest pet peeve is when women wear open-toed shoes without getting pedicures. "If you're going to show your toes, make sure your toes are well-groomed".
If you are a man who is interested in sporting facial hair, make sure that it works for you. Think about it like a haircut — not every cut is going to look good on every person, he says. Regardless, your facial hair needs to be kept trim and tidy to maintain a professional look.
Whatever you wear, make sure it's appropriate in your industry. Everyone draws their lines differently. Xcite™ has a dress code, follow it. For business sales, you should wear business, professional clothing, whether that is a shirt, tie, business trousers or suit pants for a man or a dress or skirt for a woman. Also pantsuits are fine for women.
Shorts and tennis shoes are not professional and should not be worn if you are a manager. These clothing choices may be appropriate for photography in the summer, but not for sales, talking to GM or owners of the dealerships or training employees.
It's also important to consider how your color choices will play in the environment. "Darker colors usually convey a stronger impression than lighter ones. " If you're giving a presentation, make sure the color you're wearing doesn't blend in with the background behind you.
According to 2,099 hiring managers and human resource professionals who participated in a CareerBuilder survey, blue and black are the best colors to wear to a job interview, and orange is the worst. Conservative colors, such as black, blue, gray, and brown, seem to be the the safest bet when meeting someone for the first time in a professional setting, whereas colors that signal more creativity, like orange, may be too loud for an interview.
"Keep your jewellery subtle unless you're an opera singer or an entertainer," says Xcite™. "And don't wear things that will clank when you rest your hand on the table or that make noise when you gesture."
Accessories are meant to complement your outfit, not overpower it.
A good, straight posture conveys confidence and that you're worthy of attention. You should learn to sit in the front half of your seat with both feet on the floor, back straight, and shoulders back.
Xcite™believes this shows that you're fully there and interested.
Also, don't cross your legs or let your legs bounce up and down. These bad habits are distracting to others and make you appear immature and not serious.
It's OK to sometimes talk with your hands— it actually brings your message alive. "Try in your everyday conversations to build 'gesture awareness' and let your hands be descriptive," says Xcite™. However, small gestures and occasional gestures in a meeting are better then waving your hands around or constantly gesturing. Whatever you do, don't lace your fingers together and play with your rings or fiddle with your fingers or nails, as these are unproductive ways to release energy.
Make sure your face is pleasant by smiling often and maintaining eye contact at appropriate times. "If you're frowning or your face looks frozen in nervousness, the interviewer could easily get the impression that you're difficult or indifferent."
When you smile, make sure that you are giving off a genuine smile.
When speaking to someone, whether it is the dealer or any business person, you need to make sure that you are speaking clearly and that what you are saying makes logical sense. Stuttering and word whispers, complicate your presentation and make the person you are speaking to uncomfortable or aggravated. We all stutter and make mistakes when speaking, but we can improve our quality of speech.
Don't do anything out of the ordinary when it comes to the handshake. Simply grasp the other person's hand firmly, say something like "very nice to meet you," look at them directly in the eye, and smile warmly.
Xcite™ believes that by applying these basic steps, you can have a better first impression which can lead to lasting friendships and successful business ventures.
Xcite Advertising™ hopes you enjoyed this lesson on first impressions and why they are so important.
In the following lesson you will learn how to make the cold call when it comes to sales.
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