“First impressions are often the truest. A man’s look is the work of years; it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life, nay, more, by the hand of nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily.” – William Hazlitt

Absolutely. Every time.  

Whenever you are on an interview or meeting a client for the first time or entering a conference room with another department — first impressions COUNT.

  • The way you look.
  • The way you comport yourself.
  • The way you smile and greet people.
  • What you say.
  • How you react to their response.

In about 5-10 seconds, you’ve already decided whether you like the person or not. Your opinion may change once you get to know them better, but your first impression will linger for a long time.

But here’s something not said by most professionals: It’s the successive mini-impressions that will solidify their first impression — and this is where most people screw up.

After the first 5-10 seconds, a first impression is generated. They’ve made a snap, emotional decision whether they like you and they begin to categorize you. Will you be a friend or enemy? Helpful or a drain? A resource or waste of time? A qualified applicant or another loser?

It’s then the subsequent mini-impressions that make the difference:

  • What comes out of your mouth.
  • How you react to their questions or comments.
  • How you take what they say and improve upon it.
  • How you compliment/notice them.

Bottom line — you need to deliver maximum emotional intelligence and empathize with this person. Get your emotional antennae up, feel and listen.

The better you are in delivering a good first impression and then buttressing it up with successful mini-impressions, you’ll hit a home run.

What do you do to deliver a good first impression? Have you ever started out badly and turned it around with successive mini-impressions?