The Power of Those First Few Seconds

A lot of sociological and psychological research has concluded that we have just a few seconds to make a first impression, and whether that first impression is good or bad - there’s strong chance it will ‘stick’. Of course, we all want to make a good first impression, both in business and in our social lives, and today how we look and come across seems to matter more than it ever has done; whether you are looking to meet the perfect partner or land your dream job, first impressions count. Unfortunately, we live in such a fast paced world today that few people make the time to truly get to know each other; we filter people in our daily lives which is mirrored in the digital dating apps that encourage you to “swipe left and swipe right”. The point being that we are heavily judged on the first impression our external appearance. Whether that’s fair or unfair, doesn’t really matter - it’s just the way things are today… and particularly in dating this is perhaps the case due to the proliferation of online dating sites where users are encouraged to take a photo first approach; meaning they judge predominantly on your external appearance before even getting to understand the context of who you are, let alone, communicate with you and get to know you.

The net result is that in just a few seconds people will work out whether they are interested or not. Now, in the offline world, what you say and how you act is always going to hold more weight than how you look, but make no mistake - the external is often seen as indicative of who the person is on the inside. This gut instinct response, known as a first impression, is formed by the reptilian aspect of your brain known as the amygdala. This is responsible for our fight of flight defence system and is home to our reticular activating system. This primitive psychological defence system factors in a multitude of tiny elements of detail and computes them within a split second to calculate who this person is; based on a variety of reference points. You might want to think of this as a credit scoring process, where our brain will essentially score this person against a set criteria depending on the context, usually as it relates to risk.This is the powerful impact of first impressions! We can’t control this gut instinct summisal of a person. We can however, be mindful of it and use it to our advantage. Here are three ways to do just that:

Inferences are made by the car you drive and these status symbols can strongly impact the first impression you make. What’s on the inside matters way more than the car you drive, and a fancy car will not make up for a flawed personality - in fact, it could just exacerbate it… but, having a modern, clean, and shiny car certainly does give a good impression. If you know your car isn’t giving off the right impression, and perhaps isn’t congruent with who you really are, then you might want to check out in order to fund a more suitable vehicle.

Your wardrobe and the clothes you choose to wear often reflect who you are on the inside, yet it’s not just your clothes, it’s your physique. Instead of following trends, choose pieces that are cut well and flatter your figure. Classic pieces will never go out of style, and if you invest a little more money into quality items they should last you for years to come.

In a similar vein to clothes, shoes have always been a significant symbol of status, yet shoes are often the most overlooked aspect of your fashion. There is, however, a very common saying that describes how if you want to know what a person is truly like, then you should judge them by their shoes.