First Impressions


First Impressions

It was a huge ad campaign several years ago. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Remember? When it comes to deodorant (the campaign’s product at the time) that is certainly true. As a recruiter and talent acquisition professional with twenty…well, let’s just say, a LOT of years of experience, I have come across numerous studies and statistics about first impressions in a professional setting. One of those statistics was this; In a job interview, 51% of a person’s decision to hire you or not is determined in the first 30 seconds. Talk about a first impression!

Fellow tribes’ members, what kind of first impression to you make? When you meet someone, what do you hope is the one thing they remember about you (yet another study I read about years ago…That people generally only remember 1 thing about someone they meet for less than a minute)? If we are truly honest with ourselves, does the impression you think you create match the ideal impression we strive to form? If those two things are far apart, how can we close the gap between them? I’d like to offer two ideas to help everyone who reads this create awesome first impressions.

First, eye contact. Looking someone in the eyes when meeting them is the fastest way to create a positive first impression. Have you ever had someone check out what you are wearing when you first met them? What was your first impression of that person? I bet it wasn’t very favorable. What about the person who is looking around at everyone but you when meeting them? Both of those things are lousy first impressions. Meeting someone new, or someone you haven’t connected with in a while, eye contact is a great way to make a solid first impression. Your eyes tell someone that you are present (remember my article on Be Here Now). It is a simple yet powerful way to create a great first impression.

Second, listening to understand, not to respond. Have you ever connected (or reconnected) with someone who is ready to reply to something you said after only a few words or while you are in mid-sentence? <Insert loud incorrect sounding buzzer effect here> Bad idea. Listening to someone and taking a moment to digest what they said before responding has been shown in numerous studies and research examples to be excellent ways to create a great first impression. If you are taking the time to meet or connect with someone, why not commit 100% and truly listen to what they are saying.

There are many other examples out there. In this ever-shortening-attention span world we live in, the ad campaign mentioned above has never been more accurate. We do only get one chance to make a first impression. Making connections with other humans still has tremendous value. Those who make great connections with strong first impressions have far better results with those connections than those who make weak or negative impressions. If you would like to hear about more examples (good hygiene, refraining from talking about politics or religion, etc.) reach out. I’d love to help anyone looking to make a solid and memorable first impression!

Steve Gwisdalla is a Dexter Resident and is the Owner, Chief First Impression Officer and all-around happy guy of BetterPlace Consulting, a business specializing in all things people. Reach out to him at

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