Seven Seconds to Make an Impression by Jessica Hodges
How you present yourself will affect how people perceive you. While some feel limited by this stark and obvious fact, others feel liberated, artistically expressing their inner selves through their external appearances.
Yet, even for the cynical and most apathetic of our surface-crazed society, more often than not, one’s taste in fashion, music, literature, etc. will align with whichever corporate, scientific or creative circle one finds most appealing. Perhaps this sounds a bit too judgmental, but can you blame me for assuming that someone wearing a suit & tie, reading Donald Trump’s latest nonfiction, is a business person?
This is to say that we’re all guilty of passing judgment. Research from NYU reports that, on average, we make eleven major decisions about one another within the first seven seconds of meeting. Pretty daunting, huh? Seven whole, precious seconds to prove that you’re just totally awesome and worth hanging out with.
So how does one cope with the fact that making a positive impression in our society is, essentially, everything? It’s easier than you think! In fact, you’re probably doing just fine already. By simply being “you,” you’ll probably gravitate towards the groups and circles that best fit “you,” and you’ll be happier this way than if you were trying to be something that you’re not (this is not a revealing science!).
If you’re trying to advance your business, however, the western world is far less forgiving. It’s worth concerning yourself with how your business physically expresses its personal interests & appeals: you want to ensure that your brand leaves the type of powerful impression that a dynamic individual would. Expensive television, radio and physical advertising are resolutions to this concern (they reach a wide and receptive audience), but they are rather expensive! Promotional products are an affordable alternative. Not to mention, how a business purchases and distributes its promotional products can express that business’s brand persona. For instance, a company that wishes to emit a tidy, professional, conservative vibe might benefit from distributing promotional polo shirts for golfing, instead of promotional Bic lighters. With promotional products, your company can reveal its interests in less than seven seconds!
I think that Willem Dafoe sums up the importance of leaving a meaningful impression: “A lot of critics are lazy. They don’t want to look closely and analyze something for what it is. They take a quick first impression and then rush to compare it to something they’ve seen before.” Most of us formulate our misguided opinions within that seven second window – we’re the lazy critics.
Let’s try to challenge ourselves to be more open-minded, yet remain fully aware of how absolutely important it is to leave the best impression possible. First impressions aren’t everything, but when you’re trying to seal a business deal, interview for a job, or even pick up a date, they might be all you’ve got.