The Importance of a First Impression
Making a great first impression is imperative to becoming an influential leader. The ancient Greeks spent a lot of time thinking and writing about the effect of one personality on another. They broke down the process of communication into three parts, which they called ethos, pathos and logos.
The ethos of communication is defined as the ethical part. This revolves around the person you really are and, more important, the person you are perceived to be. If you are in sales or business, the way you are perceived by someone, which will largely determine the influence you have over him or her, will be strongly affected by your level of credibility, your ethos. In the area of personal credibility, the rule is that everything counts. Everything you do or don’t do either adds to or takes away from your credibility and your capability to influence someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, in essence, that what you are shouts at me so loudly, I cannot hear a word you are saying. Ethos is very important.
A First Impression Says Everything
Perhaps the simplest example of the application of this rule, that everything counts, involves your image or appearance. You’ve heard it said that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. The fact is that when you first meet a person, he makes a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and his judgment is finalized largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact. In a survey of the members of the American Personnel Consultants¾ those men and women who are responsible for hiring people for large companies¾members generally agreed that they made their decision to hire or not to hire a person within 30 seconds of the first meeting.
Everything Counts: Make a Personal Statement
Everything contributing to the way you look on the outside is important. If it’s not helping you, it’s hurting you. While you cannot control your physical features, you have total control over your dress and grooming. In fact, we generally assume that a person consciously and deliberately makes a personal statement about himself with every part of his appearance that he can affect in any way.
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Your clothes are responsible for 95 percent of the first impression that you make on someone because, in most instances, your clothes cover 95 percent of your body. Your grooming, your hair style and the other ways you can determine your appearance from the neck up also exert an inordinate influence on the way that you are perceived, on your ethos with someone. Your accessories, such as purse or briefcase, watch, tie, rings, pens and other elements, all make a statement that will or will not help to put you in a position to influence someone.
Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, take complete control over every detail of your personal appearance and grooming. Resolve to look like a powerful, influential person in all your business activities.
Second, study fashion and proper dress so you know exactly what to wear and in what combination. Read a book, take a seminar or even hire an image consultant. Small changes in your appearance can change your life.
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About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.