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Business - Make a Good First Impression

5 years ago

Business - Make a Good First Impression

The initial impression you make on others is, if not indelible, certainly a huge determinant in how people will feel about you for quite some time. This judgment is only magnified at job interviews -- an activity designed to make sure you fit within an organization both personally and professionally.

Let's talk about how you can make the best possible impression at the interview. You'll learn how to prepare for the big day, send out the right nonverbal cues, relate to the interviewer and develop self-awareness of your interview image.

Most people will judge you within the first second of meeting you and their opinion will most likely never change. Making a good first impression is incredibly important, because you only get one shot at it.

Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov and co-author Janine Willis, a student researcher who graduated from Princeton in 2005 had people look at a microsecond of video of a political candidate. Amazingly, research subjects could predict with 70-percent accuracy who would win the election just from that microsecond of tape. This implies that people can make incredibly accurate snap judgments in a tenth of a second.

How can you ensure people are judging you accurately and also seeing your best side? You never want to give people an inauthentic impression — many people can intuitively feel if someone is being fake immediately. However, any time you meet someone for the first time, you always want to start on the right foot. Here are a few ways you can make sure people’s first impression of you is a good one:

1. Set an intention. As a performer on Broadway and in movies, I learned the most important thing to do for giving a good impression is to set your intention. This is especially important before any kind of big event where you would be meeting a lot of people — i.e. conferences, networking events or friend’s parties. As you get ready or when you are driving over think about what kind of people you want to meet and what kind of interactions you want to have. This can be an incredibly grounding experience and works very well to focus on what kind of energy you want to have for your event.

2. Think about your ornaments. Once again I refer to my performing experiences to emphasize the importance of wardrobe. Clothes, make-up, jewelry, watches and shoes are all types of ornamentation and people definitely take these into account when making initial judgments. I highly recommend getting some of your favorite outfits or ornaments together and asking friends you trust what they think of when they see them. For many men, they do not realize that their watch can say a lot about them. For women, purses and large earrings or jewelry can also indicate a lot to a new person they are meeting. Make sure that what you are wearing and how you do your hair or make-up says what you want it to say to the people you are meeting for the first time, and that it all is in alignment with your "intention."

3. Body Language. Once more I draw on my acting days when I stress the importance of Body Language. Body language is a crucial part of first impressions. Everything from your posture to how you carry yourself to the way you’re angling your body. Often, simply being aware of your body language can result in immediate improvements. Another way to examine your body language is to look at yourself on a video walking around a room. Subconscious cues to keep in mind include noticing where you point your feet, the position of your shoulders, and the way you shake hands; all should state your intention.

4. Avoid bad days. The show must go on! If you are in a depressed or anxious mood, others will pick up on this from your facial expressions, comments and body language. If you’re having a bad day, stay home! Otherwise, find a way to snap yourself out of your bad mood. I used a few moments just before the curtain would rise to take a few deep breaths, shake my head while stretching my jaw, blowing air out of my mouth through my cheeks, and shaking my arms and legs while pacing in a short circle (looking like a crazy chicken:) ), to dispel any bad mood and feelings; and when the curtain rose, "It was Showtime!" Shake off your moods in your own way and when you step into the interview environment - "Showtime" Perform, with Full Intention!

5. Be interested and interesting. When you enter the environment of your interviewer (the floor of their office), think of every person you come in contact with as being part of the interviewing team! From the secretary to mail collector, think of everyone you meet as part of the team interviewing you. If you have opportunity to be politely social with the receptionist - do so ask their name. Think of yourself as sunshine entering the room and you are spreading the light. A simple smile and good eye contact can say so much about you. Find moments to show you are interested in all those you come in contact with. Your intention in the interview should be as if you already got the job and have known everyone for a long time. If you can find the right moment to mention the names of some of those you met while waiting - do so. You will impress your interviewer, and making a Good First Impression - is your Intention!

There is so much more you can practice for your interview, but for the sake of keeping this lesson to a reasonable length, I must cut it here.

Hope this is of some help to someone...

Mentor Josephan P. Sterling
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