The Importance of First Impressions… and 5 ways to make sure yours is a positive one

Written By: Scott Costello

Studies show that first impressions are made within the first 17 seconds of meeting someone new. Fifty-five percent of that impression is based off of appearance, seven percent is based on the words used and 38 percent is based on tone of voice. This means that before we even get sufficient time to demonstrate our abilities, the first impression is already cast.

Often, those first impressions are irreversible. This information doesn’t mean we all have to be replicas of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. But looking fit, neat, confident, stylish and pleasant is more likely to win folks over than not. As difficult as it may be to accept this data as “just” or “fair,” it should serve as a wake-up call for those who pay little to no attention to their physique and style.

Ask yourself honestly; do you make an outstanding first impression?

If you want to be perceived as a reliable, energetic go-getter, becoming fit will go a long way to help you accomplish that. Getting passed over for a job or promotion because your appearance gives off an air of someone unenergetic or unreliable would be a shame. Fortunately, even if genetics haven’t graced you like the Jolie-Pitt clan, there are things you can do to make sure your first impression is a positive one.

  1. Take fitness seriously. Exercise most days of the week and clean up your eating habits. Overweight employees are statistically less productive, less energetic, take more sick days and are more costly to the company in general. Don’t be “that guy.”
  2. Dress for the part. Make sure your work wardrobe is tailored, clean, neat, pressed, stylish and appropriate for your position. In fact, step things up by dressing for the job that you want to have. An extra sharp look is never going to harm your potential professionally.
  3. Tame your mane! A sloppy or shaggy hairstyle can make both men and women look like a wreck.  Use your brush and keep your cut up to date.
  4. Fix your face. Keep tabs on beards and mustaches. They should look tidy if you have them. Ladies, make sure your makeup is appropriate for the office – not a pageant or nightclub.
  5. Stand up straight and smile! These two things probably count just as much as the others, as excellent posture and a friendly face can go a long way. Without that pleasant confidence, even the best-looking people will have a hard time climbing the corporate ladder.

No one expects you to look like a supermodel, but you do need to look strong, capable, clean and confident. If you’re lacking in any of those areas, it’s time to get to work!

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