“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Anonymous
It is extremely difficult to recover from a first bad impression, and very often those first few seconds of how you present yourself to the world can have far reaching effects. Regardless of how intelligent or delightful a person may seem, it is within those first few seconds that an opinion of them is formed, and once registered it is difficult to change.
Appearances are important, and even though we should not ‘judge a book by its cover,’ you are more likely to want to talk to the person who is well groomed and extends their hand in welcome, rather than the person with the wrinkled clothing reeking of cheap aftershave and bad breath who talks over your head.
However, creating a good first impression has a second part, and just because you have the appearance part down to a fine art, you can blow the whole deal when you open your mouth – foot in mouth disease. Many people fall into the trap of trying to be someone they are not, and unfortunately, people are not that easily fooled. Try just being yourself - this is where you will feel most comfortable and you will find that people will appreciate you for who you are and not for whom you are aspiring to be.
There are a few of us out there who have the uncanny ability to read people within seconds of meeting them, and my mother unfortunately is one of them. The best looking male specimens I could find all fell prey to her evil eye, and even though I argued and pleaded their cases, she was always right, and as usual, I ended up nursing a broken heart.
I try to think of a first impression, whether a job interview, romantic venture or the day to day interactions with strangers, as being your visual and verbal business card. Ultimately, it may determine whether someone contacts you again, stays to listen to you, or simply hits the delete button in their head.