How to make a great first impression

10 September 2015

How to make a great first impression

They say that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and as it turns out, first impressions are difficult to change.

It’s also believed that people will form their first impression of you within the first 7 seconds of an encounter.

Often, we find ourselves on the receiving end of these snap decisions, both in our social and working lives.

 

But it’s perhaps in the business environment where first impressions matter most. In that vital job interview or sales pitch, getting off on the right foot really does count.

So, how can you ensure that all of those initial thoughts and feelings about you are positive?

There are a few clever ways to influence those hurriedly formed opinions.

In an article published by Harvard Business Review the author suggests to us “make eye contact, smile when appropriate, nod in agreement, listen carefully without interrupting, sit up straight, and stand tall.”

 

In addition to getting the body language right, the initial perceptions people form about you are heavily influenced by the way you dress.

Naturally, we’re of the opinion that nothing makes a stronger first impression than a quality suit. Here are a few handy tips:
 

A SUIT CAN ALTER FIRST IMPRESSIONS

A suit instantly communicates certain qualities about who you are. It’s a way of showing that you posses style, while being confident and self-assured in your own abilities. A big first impression tick!

But importantly, only wear a suit that you naturally feel comfortable in. By all means dress to impress, but make sure that you like what you’re wearing. If you feel overdressed and uncomfortable  it will show in your body language.
 

FIND THE RIGHT FIT

Of course, another big factor to consider is fit.  A perfectly tailored suit instantly lets people know that you’re all about precision, style and attention to detail.

But don’t just take our word for it. In a study on the influence of clothing on first impressions, it was found that even seemingly small alterations to a suit can change initial perceptions.

Specifically, the study compared perceptions of a man wearing a regular off-the-rack suit, to the same man wearing a made-to-measure suit. Wearing the latter was associated with being perceived as more confident, flexible and successful. Good characteristics to display when you’re trying to impress. And the best part? Instead of having to openly brag about your own credentials (never ideal for a first time encounter), that sharp pinstripe or three-piece you decide to wear can communicate all those traits in a nanosecond.  
 

COLOUR IS CRUCIAL

Even the colour of your suit  can impact that first encounter. For instance, if you want to reflect a persona of being a team player, charcoal grey or navy blue are your best choices. And if you want to set an instant tone of formal confidence, with some good old fashioned power dressing thrown in, the traditional black trousers and jacket combined with a strong blue or red tie is your go-to option.

 

So, while we’re not saying that wearing a made-to-measure suit is going to ensure that you always make a flawless first impression, it certainly wont harm the impact that you make in those crucial first 7 seconds.