I am sure at some point in your life, you have seen this happen. Maybe you hired someone who seemed great in the interview but turned out to be a completely different person when it came to dealing with them on a daily basis. Or the opposite, a new colleague has been added to your project team. Your first impression was far from good, yet today you really enjoy working together. So “yes”! My short answer is yes. First impressions can be misleading.
Let’s imagine you met someone at an event that gave you such a good feeling and vibe, you decided to use their services for your own needs, only to later find out they were unqualified or untrustworthy. What happened? Well, there are two options:
First, people often work very hard to make a good first impression on others. And yes, this can sometimes mean that we get a false sense of who someone is upon first meeting them.
Let’s face it, when we go in for a job interview or a sales meeting, we generally try to put our best face forward. If someone is very much aware of him or herself and learned how they could possibly be perceived more trustworthy, more reliable, more of “anything,” it’s easier for them to imprint this impression intentionally on you. However, the good news is: Someone who fakes their way through a first impression will only find that later they disappoint those that trusted them much more when they realize they have been tricked.
On the other hand, some people just don’t care – or don’t know better. They don’t care what their appearance, behavior, or communication signals to others and that they might send an inconsistent and, therefore, possibly wrong message to the world. Or, they just don’t know what message they are sending and that there are ways to showcase their best true self instantly. So sometimes it works out for them, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes they get the right message across, and sometimes they don’t. It makes it difficult for you to instantly grasp the information that is necessary for you to decide if you can trust this person.
However, to be very clear — it’s not only about the sender of these signals – but it’s also about the receiver…. You!
Keep in mind that when we make up our opinion about someone, we are influenced by dozens of factors. When trying to figure out what is true or false about others, we cannot get completely ‘outside’ ourselves.
First impression traps
In many of my other posts and videos on my channel, you have probably heard me talk about the variety of unconscious biases that influence the way others think about us. And obviously, you, myself, and everyone else is guilty of being biased too. Most of us tend to be overconfident in our opinions once formed, not realizing that it’s dangerous to rely on our automatic judgments that often stem from associations stored in our memories. I call these “first impression traps” – factors that heavily influence how we perceive someone, and that can, therefore, be absolutely misleading.
First impression intelligence
However, the truth is that most of us want to make a good and lasting impression on people that is positive. We want people to want to work with us, trust us, be our friends, be our colleagues and co-workers, buy from us, hire us, think of us as confident, trustworthy, kind, or smart. We want to be an asset. We want to be remembered for good things and not for things we did not take the time to consider or control.
Often our first impressions come down to simply taking the time to understand what that impression is saying to others and how we can tweak it to ensure it is saying exactly what we want to say – and it stays with us. I have developed a quiz that helps you find out what signals you send to the world and if they could be misleading too.
My goal is to help you control these first impressions and let them work in your favor. So, I invite you to stick around and learn more about how you can improve your first impression in upcoming videos by following me here or on your favorite social network.
When you create, form, and design the best YOU on the inside and outside, you’ll find making an impression on people easy every single time – plus you attract those who do the same.