The Impression Of You

."A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed." Henrik Ibsen

Everyone knows the importance of making a good first impression. Scientific research has discovered that we evaluate, profile and judge people, messages and stimuli within the first 5 seconds of encountering them. Everything after that point is filtered through similar impressions and experiences that are stored in our memory. Then we categorize them into pictures associated with words like credible, sincere, amusing and attentive or words like flaky, shifty, self centered and inattentive. You know what we don't remember in the first 5 seconds? The bland, the neutral and the boring.Think about it.

Your appearance, your words, the tone of your voice, the things you say on the phone or upon meeting someone are all lumped together and determined to be the 'same ' as previous experiences the viewer has had. Each of us in the first five seconds of encountering anything is trying to line it up in our mind with previous experiences that are similar. Is this interesting, amusing, beautiful, accurate and credible? Based upon what is stored in my memory. The subject line of your emails, the colors on your website, your facebook page, blog and tweets, the spelling and typos, the words and pictures you use and the content you find interesting is, within the first 5 seconds, determined to be 'the same as previous good experiences the viewer has had or the same as bad experiences. It all happens in the first 5 seconds.

Salespeople - you don't close deals at the end of your presentation - the buyer made the decision on whether they were going to buy from you in their first 5 seconds. People make up their minds on whether to continue to pay attention to you and your message within the first 5 seconds based on good or bad previous images in their mind AND THEN YOU REINFORCE that good or bad impression with your deeds. Your deeds, after that point, either reinforce their first impression or they refute it. So the question is can you recover from a bad first impression? Yes sometimes but you are really in a battle. Why fight scientific research? Most people have already made up their minds - Successful people work on clarifying and improving the first 5 seconds of what they present to the world and then backing it up with deeds.


1 comment:

  1. Dan: Great post - a book I read by an attorney says that a jury member decides the guilt or innocence of the accused within the first five minutes of the opening statement and rarely changes their mind no matter how long the trial may run. They base it on body language, looks, and the words of the attorney.