First Impressions

All About First Impressions

Human beings are built to size each other up quickly. Our first impressions of each other are influenced by a number of factors, such as facial shape, vocal inflection, attractiveness, and general emotional state. We tend to get attached to our initial impressions of people and find it very difficult to change our opinion of them, even when presented with lots of evidence to the contrary. As a result, it’s important to be aware of how we come across to others during a first meeting. Then we can employ impression management skills—modulating any irritating traits and accentuating our strengths—to ensure that people have a more favorable opinion of us. Everything from clothing style and posture to conversational topics can be adjusted to form a better first impression.

How to Make a Good First Impression

It takes a mere seven seconds to make a first impression. People are thin-sliced based on how they look and sound, more so than their explicit verbal statements. The observational powers (biases) of the observer are just as important as the qualities projected by the target, or person being judged, making these judgments a constant dance between objective information and selective signal-reading. 

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