Keep the following quote in mind while reading this post:
People often say that looks do not matter. I cannot emphasize how much this is a lie. To illustrate my point, here is my example: when you first meet a stranger, what do you know about that stranger?
Now, if you see this same stranger, what would you notice about him or her? Hair? Wardrobe? Confidence?
I discovered that you only have seven seconds to make a first impression. SEVEN seconds. So what is your seven seconds saying about you?
Your seven seconds says whatever you put out there, and it “speaks” on the following:
Looks (overall appearance – wardrobe, hygiene). So, you are a doctor, and you walk into your patient’s hospital room with a white t-shirt, jeans and sneakers and without your white lab coat (yes, this actually happened). In seven seconds or less, I’ve decided that this person should not be giving anyone a diagnosis.
What happened? The doctor was sending a mixed message. Most doctors show up to work in a professional way (in the very least a white lab coat and a stethoscope). So what’s going on with this doctor? How do we know that you’re even a doctor? Where is the distinction between who works here and who’s a patient or visitor?
I think you get the point.
Also, your seven seconds is what people perceive you as:
Persona (how people see you – e.g. seemingly polite or unfriendly); and Attitude (what feelings you project – e.g. standoffish or engaging).
You’re standing against a wall checking out your phone at a networking event, not really socializing with anyone. You occasionally look up but then you start looking into your phone again…for the rest of the event.
What happened? The only eye contact you’ve made was with your cell phone. So, the perception is that you are not engaged with anyone at the event and whatever is going on in your phone is way more interesting than what’s going on around you. In seven seconds or less, your persona seems anti-social and your attitude seems unbothered.
With projecting the wrong image, you could be standing in the way of your own destiny – to be successful at whatever it is you are aiming for. From a job interview to your first date and anything in between. So you always want to make sure that your image always says the right things about you.
My five points for projecting the right image:
- Make the most out of your seven seconds
- Your professional and personal style “speaks” for you before you could even say hello
- Who you really are should match the image you project
- If you want the part, look the part (a.k.a. dress for the job you want)
- You never know who you’re going to meet, when you will meet them and what role they will play in your life
As quoted by Rachel Zoe “style is saying who you are without having to speak.” So, make sure that message you’re sending is intentional and no one can write your image — your style — for you.
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