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First Impressions: What's Yours?

By Brandon Iurato
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2005

A great first impression opens the door so you can make a second impression…and then a third. Consider this: Your physical appearance is your visual resume. What signals are you sending? Positive first impressions are tough to pull off for many of us. What are you doing…or saying to make sure they remember you in a good way? It all starts from the visual impression. Your dress, posture, grooming, eye contact and smile. If you are not squared away right from the start, you have little hope of making something happen. Face yourself in the mirror, give yourself an honest evaluation and make some adjustments if necessary.

I interview thousands of candidates a year and I am shocked by the lack of preparation and professionalism that is displayed. From poor grooming to showing up in jeans and sneakers for a professional position and everything in between. The odd thing is, they don’t think anything is wrong. Just today, a man in his mid-forties came in to interview for a sales position dressed very casually with a baseball hat on…sideways!

Our visual impression is made up of five things: the clothes we wear, our body language, our facial expressions, our posture, and our gestures. As human beings, we automatically start judging and assessing others right from the start. Just by looking at someone, we begin to decide on our own things such as: education level, background, income level, attitude and the list goes on. And of course, as children we are taught never to judge a book by its cover, remember that? Although it’s wrong, and we shouldn’t judge others, it happens. So to avoid stacking the deck against yourself, start off right. Take a close look at how you present yourself and make some changes.

If you aren't sure if you need to make any changes or improvements, ask someone you trust and respect. If they care about you, more that likely they will help you out. Please take any feedback professionally, not personally.

After the visual impression comes the next big one…you have to say something! Have you ever been involved in a conversation where the person speaking was using filler words throughout the entire dialogue? Did you notice? Trashing your talk with unnecessary filler words makes you appear unprofessional; you will have the image of a high school kid hanging out in the mall. Even worse, you will never make it to the next step in the business relationship.

Uh-Oh! Now what…I have to speak! What you say, and how you say it is critical in determining how the meeting will go and will ultimately decide its outcome. Your ability to articulate your thoughts and feelings in a clear and effective manner will be a determining factor in how the encounter goes. Killer Fillers to avoid when you open your mouth: Uh, ya know, uhh, like, basically, okay, uhmm, right, so, ya know what I mean.

Competition is tough out there. There are a lot of people who are competing for your spot, your account, your chance, your opportunity. Why risk losing a golden opportunity over a poor first impression? This makes absolutely no sense! Work on developing your skills in these areas.

“People will never remember all the right things you say or do-but they will most certainly remember the wrong ones.”

Brandon Iurato

About the Author
Brandon Iurato is a professional speaker, author and trainer. His company, Success Strategies is deveoted to maximizing human potential. He resides in Orange County, New York biurato@frontiernet.net 877-300-6226