How quickly do we make a first impression?
We’ve all heard that the first impression we make is in the first few seconds of meeting someone. Maybe in the first five to seven seconds. But it’s actually much faster than that.
In research quoted in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink they have found that we make a first impression on those we meet in the first milliseconds of meeting them.
We judge on a number of criteria, threat; whether we need to fear the person we’re meeting, attraction; whether we feel attracted to the new person, and respect; whether we are going to listen to this person.
And in the research they have found that the judgements made in the first milliseconds of meeting someone do not change in the next few seconds.
So what are the implications of this; That we need to do what we can to give the right impression at the very millisecond of meeting someone. If this is on the telephone it means balancing professionalism with efficiency and warmth. If this is face to face it is the balance of eye contact, firmness of handshaking, smiling and focus. Getting it right is another matter, knowing we have to get it right is the message of this post.