In the first 7 seconds of contact,11 impressions are formed about you and your organization. Is it ‘fair’–no and are they sometimes wrong—‘yes’ and do we all do it– YES!
Here’s what we are rated on:
- Opening impression- open and engaging
- Attractive -the way we are dressed
- Credible -perceived to exhibit ethical behavior
- Knowledgeable – 'looks' smart
- Responsive -will listen and offer help
- Friendly -has a smile and a positive attitude
- Empathetic -will put ourself in the other's position
- Courteous -will be gracious
- Confident -the way we carry ourself and exude 'Executive Presence
- Professional -'buttoned' up
- Helpful- will go the extra mile
These all boil down to our character, likability and how smart we are! All in 7 seconds!
. . . and they make one of three decisions:
- They dislike you
- They are indifferent
- They love you.
We have all met someone and before they open their mouth, we have formed several of these impressions. Nothing to base them on except for our perception. Maybe you met someone and immediately decided you don't like him/her…. because they remind you of someone else or your perception was they didn't look you in the eye with a strong handshake upon meeting, so they were discounted.
I am very aware when I meet someone to establish eye contact long enough to remember the color of their eyes and smile sincerely– my wonderful father always said, "Give everyone you meet a smile and a handshake"– I think of him daily.
And yet, I know that I have been misjudged by someone's first impressions of me and I'm sure I have done the same to others. Think of the wonderful opportunities we miss out on if we forget to go beyond the 7/11 rule!