Why Your First Impression is Critical to Your Professional Brand

Posted on Fri, May 24, 2013 @ 08:05 AM

Jocelyn GiangrandeToday, many HR professionals understand the importance of establishing a strong professional brand.  However, few focus enough on one important factor, the first impression.

The cliché “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is basically true, especially when it comes to your brand.  If you wish to make a great first impression, consider these interesting stats adapted from “Professional Branding for Maximum Performance, 2006:

  • In 1/4 of a second, people make up their mind about you.
  • In the first five seconds, a person’s impression of you flips back and forth eleven times.
  • The first impression is more important than the next five impressions.

What does this have to do with your professional brand?  It means that your brand and image may be sealed in six seconds and before you even open your mouth.

If you want a rock solid brand, you must make a rock solid first impression.  Leave them talking positively about you by focusing on the following:

  1. Your Appearance:  Your appearance is the most critical when making a first impression.  Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are presenting yourself the way you wish be known.  According to the American Economic Review, attractive people are considered to be more competent and knowledgeable.  Harvard Business Review stated that women who wear natural looking makeup got more promotions.  Please note: attractive doesn’t mean pretty.  You can be attractive by looking well put together.
  2. Your Greeting:  People assess your image by how you greet them.  Do you come with energy and confidence?  Does your face say “I’m happy to be here or see you?” The handshake is most important in sending messages about your confidence.  Be sure to make it firm, give eye contact and smile through the greeting.
  3. Your Body Language:  ninety-three percent of what you communicate comes from your body language, gestures and facial expressions.  Therefore, be sure that you are communicating the right message.  Good posture, open-hand gestures and a friendly face helps people remember you and feel good in your presence.  This adds up to a great first impression.

If you aim to have a great professional brand, be sure to focus on making a positive first impression.  Chances are, you may not get a second chance.

Jocelyn Giangrande

Our monthly guest blogger, Jocelyn Giangrande, is a Marygrove Human Resource Management alumna who not only owns her own company, SASHE, LLC, but has over 15 years of corporate experience. Her career advice and guidance have been featured in Women’s Day, HR Magazine; she is also the author of What’s In Your Sandwich? 10 Surefire Ingredients for Career Success.


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