Managers Have To Deal With The Challenge Of First Impressions

First impressions do count
First impressions do count
Image Credit: reynermedia

As a manager, we meet a lot of people. What this means for us is that we are responsible for a lot of first impressions. Although we may not spend a lot of time thinking about it, it turns out that those first impressions often shape how people choose to interact with us. We’d like all of our first impressions to be positive, but our manager skills really don’t give us all that much control over them. One of the biggest problems that we run into is the simple fact that most people’s first impressions are wrong.

How To Control First Impressions

So exactly how do people form their first impressions of you? What we need to realize is that these first impressions are formed in milliseconds. The impressions are based on instinctive responses in the amygdala part of the brain – the emotion sensing center. People can decide that you are a reliable person because you look like someone else that they know who is trustworthy. Alternatively, someone may make a snap judgment based on a stereotype. Examples of this would be that people who look more feminine or older are more trustworthy.

All of this means that you have real challenge on your hands that you really don’t have any manager training for. You are going to have to take action if you want to be able to perform well in interviews, meetings, or other such gatherings. The good news is that there are steps that you can take to change how other people may be viewing you. There are things that may still be out of your control – faces with a lot of space between the eyes or between the eyebrows are seen as being more trustworthy, etc.

If you want to inspire trust in someone then you are going to need to smile with the corners of your mouth turned upwards. You will also have to raise your eyebrows. If you can make both of these gestures, then you’ll have a better chance of inspiring trust right off the bat.

How To Make A Better First Impression

All of this realization that our facial expressions can control the first impressions that we make on other people can cause people to start to try to control their faces when they are meeting other people. However, it turns out that the facial expressions that you are making even when you think that nobody else is watching are just as important. What’s going to happen is that people are going to start to distrust you if your dominate face is disapproving, grumpy, or even angry. At the same time switching from your dominate face to a big happy smile when somebody is looking at you is going to make people trust you even less.

When you know that you are going to be meeting someone for the first time, you are going to have to take the time to prepare. What you are going to want to do is to think about what you’d like to be able to accomplish by meeting this new person. You are going to want your movements to be both confident and relaxed and this means that you are going to have to have control over your breathing. Additionally, you’d like to have symmetry to your stance and so you are going to want to make sure that your shoulders are both even and straight.

When you are meeting someone for the first time you are going to want to make sure that you do it correctly. What this means is that you are going to want to make sure that you are not sending them any mixed messages. Make sure that your hands are relaxed and visible at your sides instead of being hidden away in pockets or crossed in front of you. By doing this you’ll be communicating that your greeting is warm and genuine and that you don’t feel the need to protect yourself or have a hidden agenda. Make sure that your stance is towards the person that you are meeting so that they’ll know that you are focused on them

What All Of This Means For You

Our ability to be effective managers means that when we meet new people we need to make sure that they both like and trust us. What this means is that we’ve got to ensure that we’ll make a good first impression. First impressions are made almost instantly when we meet someone for the first time. We need to take control of how other people are perceiving us.

When people reach a first impression of you they are actually making a snap judgment. They are basing their view of you on other people that they’ve know who are like you or other people that they’ve known who look like you. This means that you are going to have to take steps to control what the first impression that someone gets of you is. Simply by smiling when you meet someone for the first time you can get them to view you as being trustworthy. You need to understand that the facial expressions that you are making even when you don’t think that anyone is looking are important also. Before we meet someone for the first time we’ll want to think about what we want to accomplish and then make sure that our body is sending them the right message. When meeting someone, make sure that your hands are viable and that you have tilted your body towards them to show interest in what they are saying.

Meeting new people and getting them to be willing to work with us is a critical part of being a successful manager. It turns out that when we are meeting people for the first time, they are forming first impressions of us. This can be a very powerful factor in how we interact with them in the future. This means that we need to make sure that we cause people to form the best first impressions possible. The good news is that we are in control of this and we can ensure that the first impressions that we make help us to be better managers.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: If you make a bad first impression, do you think that there is way that you can fix this?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In order to manage the best team, you have to have the best team. What this means is that one of your responsibilities as a manager is to use your manager skills to recruit the best team possible. During times when the job market is tight, this can be a real challenge.

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