Making a Good First Impression – featuring our Chief Experience Officer
November 20, 2017
Before our Chief Experience Officer, Jeff Zirker, first joined TSG, he made an interesting first impression. While in a training session, he turned to a man in the room and jokingly asked “who’s the new guy?” He had no idea that “the new guy” was actually the CEO and founder of The Select Group, Sheldon Wolitski. Lucky for Jeff, he and Sheldon were able to laugh it off, and he later joined the TSG team – but under other circumstances, the results could have been very different.
Moments like those, when you feel you’ve completely blown making a good first impression, are the stuff of nightmares for most of us – and for good reason. Research has reaffirmed our long-held belief that first impressions matter.
In 2006, a study by Princeton psychologists revealed that it only takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger based on their appearance.
And research conducted at Cornell University in 2016 showed that first impressions, even ones made in just a split second, can last for a long time.
In everyday life, a bad first impression may not be the end of the world. Tripping over your shoelaces in front of strangers on the street is embarrassing in that moment, but odds are you’ll never see those people again. It’s different in business. The need to create a lasting, positive first impression on colleagues, bosses, and customers is essential, since you have a working relationship with them. So how do you do that?
Remember our CXO, Jeff? The same guy who called our CEO “the new guy?” Contrary to what that funny story would indicate, he has decades of experience in creating positive first impressions on customers and coworkers. He shared some insights on first impressions with us.
Why is a first impression so important?
The people who you engage with for the first time can’t help but form an opinion about you. If you’re nervous or distant, they’re going to adopt the same feelings. If you’re comfortable and confident, it sets the stage for a great discussion. People automatically form an opinion in the first few minutes, so that first impression is really important.
What’s your best advice for making a great first impression?
When possible, take time to learn something about the person you’re talking to: where they’re from, what they like, what they do. If it’s the very first time you’re meeting with them, let them know that you’re at ease, and it really helps make the discussion comfortable.
But first impressions aren’t limited to physical interactions. Your online presence also sends a message to prospective employers, coworkers, and bosses. If you want to show your best side on LinkedIn, we’ve got you covered. Click here to see our 5 steps to making your LinkedIn profile job-ready.
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