First Impressions

May 27 21:00 2002 Susan Dunn, M.A. Print This Article

"People evaluate ... as they perceive it ... it is all part of ... ... the mind's ... and ... of ... that goes on before it reaches ... These jud

"People evaluate everything as they perceive it ... it is all part of preconscious processing,Guest Posting the mind's perception and organization of information that goes on before it reaches awareness. These judgments are lightning fast in the first moment of contact between the world and the mind. These instantaneous evaluations create an initial predisposition that gets things off on a positive or negative footing." Dr. Joseph Bargh

When you're going for a job interview, or soliciting a new client, or interacting with the media, or giving a speech it's good to keep this quote in mind.

It's called "transference" in therapy, and refers to the fact that people remind us of other people. And the fact that that happens is something you can't control for. If you happen to remind the HR Manager of her high school English teacher that she hated, you have that going against you, and there's no way to control for that. Which makes it all the more important to control for what you can. That means take care of the basics:

1. Dress professionally in a way that doesn't distract from you or what you have to say. Leave the sparkly earrings at home. Save the perfume for another time.

2. Use what you learned in the voice makeover. You haven't had a voice makeover? Here's one source: Very important. Who isn't on the phone all day long these days?

3. Use your EQ. Treat the person/group with respect. Remember the social amenities. Shake hands properly--not too hard, not too soft. Inquire as to how their day is going. Say "good morning" and "nice to meet you." You know the drill. If you don't, get an EQ coach.

4. Do your homework. Know your subject matter, know the company if it's an interview, know the demographics of your audience if you're going to give a speech or seminar.

5. Know yourself. The most important part of your homework. You need to know where your strengths are, what might throw you off, how you are perceived by others. There's an assessment you can take that tells you what impressions about you to correct for in an interview.

6. Appear organized. Notice I said appear. Being "organized" is a strength you may not have and it's not a sine qua non for success. But in this case, make the effort. Be sure papers aren't sticking out the side of your briefcase, that you can access your business card smoothly, etc. There's enough stress; get this part under control.

7. Assume a virtue if you have it not. Ah, Shakespeare. Well, you need to be yourself, but you also need to bend a little. If you're speaking to a group that you know are Democrats, at least don't talk Republican. Save it. If the prospective client insists their coach/doctor/PR professional must be "patient," bring out this part of you. Most of us have all traits available for accessing.

8. Compose yourself before you go in. Plan to get there early so you can compose yourself if you had the usual trouble finding the place... sitter didn't show parking place and you had to walk a the rain...bad hair day...cut yourself shaving...allergies...fight with spouse...visiting in-laws...indigestion.

9. Don't choke. See my Top 10:

10. Remember, no matter how good you are, no matter how great your expertise, or what your position is, there are certain immutable laws in the universe, and one of them is that first impressions really do count!

Source: Free Guest Posting Articles from

  Article "tagged" as:

About Article Author

Susan Dunn, M.A.
Susan Dunn, M.A.

Susan Dunn is a coach for personal and professional development, focusing on strengths, emotional intelligence and inner balance. Visit her on the web at

View More Articles