First Impressions

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Running head: FIRST IMPRESSIONS

First Impressions and How to Project a Positive Image
Meree G. Vargo

Thesis
The purpose of this research is to focus on three major roles that shape a first impression appearance, non-verbal communication, ways to exude a positive first impression and discuss the impact of a first impression.

First impressions are the initial reaction to the meeting of an individual that one has not met before, a snap judgment. First impressions typically take more time to develop if it is a social meeting opposed to a business meeting. These quick first impressions are also known as the “primary effect”. (Lussier, 2010) Although there is not one set figure on the amount of time one has to make a first impression, experts suggest that one has a blink’s worth of time, five seconds, to four minutes. There is a big difference between five seconds and four minutes, but relative to an initial meeting even three minutes is a short amount of time. In most cases this impression is the basis of someone’s opinion about you and if that impression is not a good one, it will be very difficult if not impossible to change. (First Impressions 2) Sometimes one doesn’t’ even know what an individual looks like, but they are still able to make a first impression. First impressions can be made by talking to someone over the phone, reading an email, reviewing a resume, meeting someone at a networking meeting, going to a first interview and the list goes on and on. An “image” is “other people attitudes towards us” (Lussier, 2010), an image is developed mainly by appearance, non-verbal communication and behavior. This paper will examine these variables to see the impact first impressions really have and examine ways to project a positive first impression. It is important to note that first impressions are based on the opinions of others and can at times be based on bias or prejudice.

First impressions are formed when people observe others for the first time, and then further attribute personality traits based on those observations. First impressions play an important role in human interaction because they speak the ways in which people anticipate reactions from others. How people relate to each other as well as what and how relationships are formed are therefore influenced by first impressions.

Your first impression makes up your character and one should never try to be anyone else, but themselves. It just takes a quick glance, maybe three or four seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person has formed an opinion of you based on your appearance, body language (nonverbal communication), verbal communication, and behavior (Mindtools.com, 2012).

It is important for people to realize how first impressions are formed so that they may be aware of the effects of their own behavior and the possible inaccuracy of their judgments of others. Physical appearance says a lot when meeting someone for the first time. The first impression you would want to present for one person or business might not be the first impression you might want to present for another. Meeting your partner's parents, for example, will likely require offering a different impression than you might to his or her friends.

There are many positive potential effects to making a good first impression. By presenting yourself well, you could win your partner's parents approval, land a fantastic job, or get a second date. These effects also spill over to your friends, family, and other associates. Clothing and appearing generally presentable are extremely important in all first impression situations.

If you want to make a good first impression, you should be clean and do something to indicate you have spent some amount of time on your appearance, even if only in the slightest sense. Your clothing also says a great...
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