“First impression is an idea, feeling or opinion about a person formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.”
We deeply believe that it is our character and personality that counts, but the reality is that people make judgements about who we are based on first impression. It is not always the most accurate representation. And because it is formed in very short time and based on a very little information, it is always related to the other persons personal experience. Hence it is someone’s perception of you and not a real image. The accuracy of the image increases with the time. With every event or meeting with that person, we gather more information and that brings more clarity to whom he or she is.
We need to think about first impression as a snapshot, a snapshot that captures the moment and nothing else. And those few first seconds are sufficient to make a conclusion about fresh acquaintances. The first impression is created in seconds at the very first encounter – either in person or over the phone or even via email or website. Surprisingly, it has a lasting effect, as we reckon it impacts the way we perceive the person in 60%.
First impression is also about the initial feeling people have meeting you. How you make them feel is more important than what you are saying. Your appearance together with your body language and the tone of your voice create the atmosphere of the meeting. You can make others feel comfortable and relaxed or stressed and pressured. Think of how people respond to you.
From the scientific point of view, our brain is a thousand years old structure. Thanks to the increased use of our brain capability, we evolved as homo sapiens. But many reactions were inherited from our ancestors, like the one that allows our brain to recognize another human as a threat or friend in a few milliseconds. It has been trained for a thousand years to judge the situation and react very quickly based on little information.
The first impression is not the same for various people. They heavily depend on their expectations, prejudices, beliefs and stereotypes. We all have a tendency to interpret situations, events and objects in our own unique way and the distortion of opinion is the result of personal experience. In the same way we differ in interpreting another person’s appearance and behavior. It is not always a bad thing, it makes life interesting and meeting people an exciting experience.
What we need to remember is that to every person their own opinion looks real, true and solid. While it is only an illusion, their perception is their reality.