We often think of first impressions beginning with a handshake and continuing through the end of the first meeting. But first impressions begin well before then. Two Seconds, according to some studies. You have two seconds or less to make an impression. So, what type of impression do you make? Is that the impression you want others to receive? At the LMA-LA social last week there were a series of informal discussions. Jonathon Fitzgarrald hosted a session on marketing/branding yourself, imparting on the group that:

  1. In 1/4 of one second someone forms an opinion of you;
  2. A first impression is more important than the next five impressions combines;
  3. 80% of all people are visual, which means they are making up their mind about you based on what they see.

To prove the point, we then played the following game.

  • Hand out index cards pre-printed with everyone in the group’s name.
  • Call on each person to raise hand one at a time.
  • Have everyone write down the first word or phrase that comes to mind on back of index card.
  • Collect all cards.
  • Sort cards by name.
  • Hand back stack of cards, with person’s name and comments, to the person.
  • Watch people nod, get angry, see relief, go into shock.

Knowing what others think of you, just by their first impressions, is important if you are: 1) looking for a job; 2) trying to hold onto/having a hard time at your current job; 3) moving up the corporate ladder at your job; or, 4) looking for a date. Here’s what my group thought of me: Aggressive. Sharp. Cool. Sharp. Sophisticated. Thoughtful. Type A. Feisty. Not bad, really. Taking this information into consideration, along with a recent personal discussion I had, what I took away is that I might need to soften my approach … a bit.