First impressions

Because you don’t get a second chance at first impressions, here’s a few tips to make the first chance count. SUE BARRETT

Sue Barrett

By Sue Barrett

Picking up from my recent posting “We’ll meet again”, I thought it would be worth looking at how first impressions can affect our opinions of other people and their opinions of us and the desire to work together.

According to one university study, people make 11 decisions about us in the first seven seconds of contact: 

  1. Education level
  2. Economic level
  3. Perceived credibility, believability, competence and honesty
  4. Trustworthiness
  5. Level of sophistication
  6. Sex role identification
  7. Level of success
  8. Political background
  9. Religious background
  10. Ethnic background
  11. Social/professional/sexual desirability
(Source: Michael Solomon, PhD, psychologist, chairman, Marketing Department Graduate School of Business, NYU.)

And then, according to this study, the rest of your time is spent finding evidence to prove your original impression of that person, whether that impression is true or not. This study emphasises the importance of creating good first impressions.

And as the old saying goes: “You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

Here is an interesting exercise to test the impact of making a good impression:

  • Check out the next 10 places where you spend your money, whether in person or on the phone, and see how effectively the people you come in contact with make a favourable impression with you.
  • Notice how you are greeted when you call or go into a business or are contacted by its employees.
  • How effective are they in creating a favourable and positive impression with you?
  • Do they pay attention to you and treat you as you would like to be treated?
  • How do you and your team make good first impressions?

Not everyone knows how to make a good impression. Many people are often too preoccupied with themselves to pay due attention to you. And many people forget about using common courtesies that could make all the difference when communicating with you.

Common courtesy, sadly, isn’t so common any more. So here are some tips on making a good first impression:

  • Tune your world out and them in – really listen and pay attention to what they say and do.
  • Think about what you can learn about them and in turn what you can learn about yourself by interacting with them.
  • Think “there is something about you I like”.

I hope this goes some way in helping you and your team make positive first impressions with those people you interact whether it be in business or on a personal level.


Sue Barrett is Managing Director of BARRETT Pty Ltd. Sue is an experienced consultant and trained coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating High Performing Sales Teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. For more information please go to

For more Sell Like a Woman blogs, click here.



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