The First Impression

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A famous British writer Andrew Grant once said,

“You never get a second chance to make the first impression,”

Our behaviour is of vital importance for our quick and lasting impression. When we interact with somebody, we do make a judgment about the person’s trustworthiness and competence in the first 20 seconds. The first 20 seconds of observation may predict the gender, race, age, and appearance of the individual with whom we have social intercourse.

We can read from the person’s etiquette and manners in the first meeting itself. If I ask about age, salary, and present job preferences, I am asking direct questions and therefore it shows a lack of manners. Your happy or smiling face may be internalized. Sadness on your face may give the impression that internally you are facing some stresses or strains.

When you meet a person, you predict so many things. It is true about other things also. For instance, you can predict the value-addition of an email after reading the subject line. You can judge the book by the title or subtitles. You can even predict the speech or audio from the first 20 to 30-second soundbites. You are very well able to decide from the first few seconds of long form video whether you are good to spend time watching it or skip it.

Based on psychological inference, you can predict the future behaviour of the person. Any person behaving abnormally during this initial interaction can tell us a lot of things about how he can behave in the next meetings. We might not choose him next time for our association and literally, we do not change our impression easily.

The brain has certain patterns to process information and update their impression, especially negative and immoral information. An undesirable behaviour of a person is considered to be the true character and diagnostic.

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The Punctuality

I can never forget a boy who was working with me in the photocopy division when I was a manager as a manager in a small organization. He used to come back after lunch at 3 pm. You can even adjust your watch at three pm when he arrives in the office. The moment you watch the second hand of your watch crossing figure of 12, undoubtedly, he used to make an entry in the room. Several times we tested without his knowledge. How consistent he must be about his timing? Due to some of the principles he has the wealth at present in crores.

Principles and ethics are over everything. I am highly impressed by the train timings in Japan. The arrival and departures and scheduled in seconds say, for instance, Departure can be understood to be 14:20:11 (hh:mm: ss) but even departures are scheduled just like 19:20:22(hh:mm: ss). We have improved a lot for our timings in India for railways. Earlier when the train used to arrive 30 minutes in advance, we were surprised but when the guard confessed that it is 23:30 (hh: mm) hours late, we used to laugh and make a mockery of timing.

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Action Based Changes

1. Interaction and demonstrating compassion and competence can help form a positive opinion about yourself in others’ minds.

2 Secondly, we should explain the context of our previous wrong actions. A study conducted by Cornell University found that it was possible to change your first impression of someone by giving them information that gives your actions in a new context. Therefore, if we explain the real and honest reason for unprofessional behaviour on the first day to the supervisor, it will be useful to change their perception. Do not apologize profusely because it can make the person you apologize to feel they constantly need to reassure you.

3. We have to be self-aware about when to take action and when to let things go. A second chance might occur naturally sometimes, and sometimes you need to work to get them. In any situation, put your honest efforts to get a great impression next time.

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Body language and gestures

People also judge you based on your body language.

If you cross your arms in front of your body, you are nervous.

If you stand up straight, you are relaxed

If you look straight in the eyes, you have self-confidence.

If you do not make eye contact, you are not honest and hiding something.

You appear nervous if you cross your arms in front of your body, relaxed if you don’t, and self-confident if you stand up straight. Eye contact also comes into play: If you look people straight in the eye, you’ll appear not only self-confident but honest.

your grooming style and way of wearing clothes give assumptions about the structural aspects of your appearance.

In nutshell, your whole-body actions and behaviour can be forecasted as a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and passing time.

Photo by Annemarie Horne on Unsplash

Reward And Punishment

Psychologist BF Skinner had experimented with the mouse. He had two cages. One mouse had a lever which is pushed by the mouse knowingly or unknowingly, food dropped in the cage. Later on, when the mouse used to be hungry, he learned straight-a-way to push the lever. Another cage had an electrical connection with a lever. Whenever the mouse used to touch the lever, it gave a shock. So, the mouse gradually learned to refrain from touching the lever.

It was inferred after studies that rewards gave much more benefits in comparison with those punishments. The reward may even be a smile or the punishment can be wide eyes or simply an act to stare.

It is very much easy to make a first bad impression but it is always advisable to make an ever-lasting good impression. So, train yourself to change your behaviour. So, change your behaviour to spread ripple effects in the society where you are living. Let us make earth a better place to live and spread happiness and love.

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Former aircraft engineer IAF, Retired Branch Manager SBI, Psychologist, Best Selling Author & Defence Recruitment Trainer