First Impressions

No matter the quantity of errors we make or the successes we hit in our own first impressions of people, it seems that it is stronger than us and part of human nature: we will have first impressions of people and they will have the same from us. Let’s talk a bit about how we can try to make a better first impression on them in a business setting.


A first impression is what a person thinks of you when you first meet or even when they first communicate with you over the phone or email. It is the feeling that they get or the initial evaluation that a person does of you when they first interact with you. It can be done during a glance, a phone call, an email exchange, a conversation or even from a distance when someone is looking at your body language from the other side of the room. As we are always being judged by others in our lives (and sometimes judging others, ourselves!), either if you are in a job interview or a business transaction, it would be very important to master the details of what we can do and how we can help ourselves in creating good first impressions on people.


It is especially the non-verbal communication that determines the first impression made by a person. When you meet a person for the first time, you make, almost immediately, a certain idea of him/ her and vice-versa. The specialists propose an evaluation of the equation of verbal / non-verbal behavior, coming to the conclusion that 55% of the first impression is created by the body language and the image. The voice accounts for 38%, while the words account for only 7%. This suggests that how we look is one of the key aspects. Of course, unless you are interviewing with a model agency, this doesn’t mean that you need to look like a model.


Starting with the way you dress, you need to ask yourself what the appropriate dress code is for that occasion. In a business setting, what should be the business attire? Is it better to wear a suit, blazer, or go casual? What the person you’ll be meeting is likely to wear – if your contact is in advertising or in the music industry, maybe dressing too formal is not a good idea. Dress codes also vary between countries and cultures, so it’s something that you should pay particular attention to when in an unfamiliar setting or country. Make sure you know the traditions and norms. Preparation is a key aspect.


When in doubt, I would suggest, go overdressed. You can always take your jacket or your tie off in case your parties are more relaxed or sporty, but if everybody is in business attire and you aren’t, this may play a significant role in your self-esteem and things can start to go downhill for you.


When you meet somebody, be open and confident. Smile, stand tall, make a reasonably timed eye contact and greet with a firm handshake (not a bone crusher, please). Just the handshake itself is more important than most of us can predict. Experts in personality and psychologists say that everyone should pay close attention to their handshake. People are making judgments and basing their initial opinions of you of this small gesture. Many potential employers and business associates will see a weak handshake as a sign that you lack confidence and ability in what you do.


All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel better and at ease. If you know you will meet a particular person, take a few minutes to learn something about him/ her before you get together. Try to identify something that you and that person have in common as this is a great way to open a friendly conversation and to create a very good first impression.


If someone come over to speak with you, in order to check and confirm the right first impression he/ she had on you, you would need to give a sense of courteousness and attentiveness. Through conversations people have the ability to say so much, both by their actions and their words. So, if you were speaking to someone about your career or life, he or she can pick up a lot of information by the way that you carry your conversation. It is by the subtleties and nuances of your voice and body language fused with what you say that a person can get a first impression of you.


Some may say that first impressions are fairly accurate and stand the test of time. Others may argue that first impressions can’t be trusted and that it’s too risky to give so much importance on the first piece of information we receive about something—whether it be a person, a product or a company. The point is: accurate or not, we all have first impressions on somebody else and we all create first impressions on other people. Hopefully the points discussed above will help you give people an authentic impression of what you are and make sure they are also seeing your best side.


This article is for general, indicative purpose only and should not be considered investment advice. Florida Connexion is not liable for any financial loss, damage, expense or costs arising from your investment decisions based on this article.


At Florida Connexion our multidisciplinary business brokers can assist you in identifying the right business for you and the right buyer for your business.