Perception Is Everything: 5 Essentials To Make A First Good Impression

Remember the “First Impression is Last Impression” rule – thinking that you had a full 24 hours to show them what you really were made off, you know, since your first impression is “embedded” after the first day – well turns out you’re wrong. According to a Princeton’s  scientific research, it literally takes about 100 milliseconds till the first impression is set. That means that if you’re having a bad day, forgot to take a quick shower or, hell, wore the wrong colored jacket, you’re pretty much screwed.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the author of the new book “Executive Presence”, explains that appearance is our first filter, our first impression. Be it at job interviews, dates or even formal client meetings, what they see first is what they will always remember you by. Hewlett takes it even a step further and explains that it really all boils down to how polished and groomed you are and “not about the precise shape of your body, texture of your hair or the designer you’re wearing.”

After surveying  about 4000 professionals, people who knew what they were doing, which included 268 senior executive – it all boiled down to these 5 essentials.

Don’t bother coming in if you don’t – Look clean and polished

Think of it as your first encounter with that hot guy you once saw or with that beautiful woman you laid your eyes on last night. What do you think sparked that initial sensual tension between you, his loving heart? Her faithfulness? No, for the love of god, no! It was his and her physical appearance that simply attracted you to them – not fate, not the tooth fairy – their physical appearance.

Hewlett explains that “carelessness seems to signal that you don’t respect your coworkers or yourself,”  and continues by stating “and you certainly don’t respect the client if you show up with soup on your tie or bitten nails, anything to make you look unkempt.”  So to avoid looking the way you look on a Sunday brunch, clean up! Whether you’re working in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street, always remember to look clean and polished.

Hit the treadmill if you have too – Look physically attractive

I know this is going to sound crazy but, attractive people actually tend to cash in more and get hired more often than the “less attractive” people. The GE executive, Deb Elam, tells Hewlett that “being physically fit gives people the confidence that you will take care of what you are asked to do, because you are taking care of yourself,”

Listen, how and what you look like will reflect on the company, your date or whomever you’re with, because you’re not only representing yourself, but your company as well. So do everyone a favor and clean up a little.

Open up Vogue if you have too – Dress simple and Stylish

Now I’m not telling you to dress up in a suit and tie if you’re working at Google, I’m simply telling you to observe and look around you. If your sense for fashion is non-existent, see what the people in your company are putting on, who are up to date – and then follow their fashion pattern.

Hewlett also explains that “it’s not that everyone has to wear a grey suit,” she says, “but this sense of polish and putting some thought into it does yield some benefits.”

Stop Slacking and Stand Tall

Surprisingly enough, the importance of one’s height is crazy biased and gendered. Hewlett’s  research states that 6% of all respondents admitted to “being tall” definitely contributes to a woman’s presence while a total of 16% said that it contributed significantly to men.

Even the New York Times conducted a research, in the race for the Oval Office, which stated that The taller candidate has beaten the shorter candidates two-thirds of the time. So a piece of advice: Stand Tall.

And last but not least – Look youthful

Looking young and on top of your game – but still not looking like your average pimpled teenager, portrays “vitality to lead the charge and not succumb to setback,” Hewlett describes. This can even be proved by the emerging cosmetic surgery market, where people nowadays take a chunk out of their, excuse my french, ass to insert it back into their lips just to take them back a couple of years. Jokes aside though, everything from Botox injections to “upper arm lifts” have been increasing significantly year after year.

Alright, I’m done here – lets see if you can pull it off.

Picture Credit: Getty Images