Positive personal impact is one of the five keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success. You create positive personal impact in three ways: 1) creating and building your unique personal brand; 2) being impeccable in your presentation of self; and 3) understanding and following the basic rules of etiquette.
Last week, I received the second edition of Lydia Ramsey’s book Manners That Sell. Lydia is a business etiquette expert, speaker and columnist. She has been featured on National Public Radio, The New York times and The Wall Street Journal. She knows what she is talking about. She also is a friend who appeared on my internet radio show a few years ago.
In the very first chapter of Manners That Sell, Lydia makes some great points about first impressions. If you want to create positive personal impact, you have to make a great first impression. Here’s what Lydia has to say about first impressions…
“It takes a few seconds to make a negative impression and a lifetime to overcome one. In business, if your first impression goes badly you may not get the opportunity to make a second impression. This may not seem fair, but neither is life.
"Meeting someone for the first time is like stepping into the spotlight. Everything about you is intensified. Studies show that 55% of how people judge you is based on what they see, 7% is based on the words they hear, and 35% on tone of voice…
“Before you ever open your mouth, you create an impression of yourself in the other person’s mind. You need to be impeccably groomed and look your best at all times.”
Lydia says that in order to make a good first impression, you need to pay attention to your hair, facial hair or makeup, clothes, jewelry, shoes, socks and hosiery.
If you think about it, that’s why the McCain campaign spent all that money on Sarah Palin’s clothes, accessories, hair and makeup. They wanted Governor Palin to look Vice Presidential. While I’m on the other side of this election, I think the outcry over the money spent on clothes for her public appearances is overblown. People expect their elected officials to look polished and make a great first impression.
The common sense point here is simple. A good first impression is necessary for creating positive personal impact. You never know when you might meet someone who can help your career. That’s why it’s important to take the time to look your best every day. Lydia Ramsey says, “The day you decide to dress down or compromise your appearance may be the day that you are introduced to that all-important person whom you have been trying to meet for months.” There’s another good reason for looking your best at all times. By doing so, you demonstrate respect for yourself – and for the people you will meet that day.
That’s my take on the importance of first impressions to creating positive personal impact. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. I really appreciate your thoughts and comments. As always, thanks for reading – and commenting.