Making a good first impression is of the utmost importance, for research studies indicate that the impression made in the first few seconds of an initial encounter has a long-lasting effect and very rarely changes over time. Positive first impressions can be made by being well-dressed and groomed, by being confident and self-assured, and by smiling and making eye contact when meeting someone for the first time.
In order to provide a thorough and comprehensive analysis of this issue, first impression dynamics will be examined in a variety of contexts such as dating, social events, academic settings, and job interviews, and the impact of first impressions on business activities ranging from sales and the design of company websites to hospitality industry environments such as restaurants and hotels will be discussed and analyzed.
The Influence of First Impressions
Lenny Laskowski (1998,1), president of LJL Seminars, notes that people always form an initial impression the first time they come in contact with someone, regardless of whether it is in person or whether it is over the telephone. Every other contact after that first time either supports or conflicts with that first impression. If a good first impression is created, the relationship grows from there, but if a bad first impression is created, “the relationship with that person can be an uphill battle.”
Taylor, Pepau, & Sears (2000) explain that first impressions are extremely important because they are the initial idea that an individual forms about another individual and determine whether they decide to pursue any type of relationship. People tend to form impressions of each other relatively quickly and use minimal information such as the gender of the other person, their overall appearance, comportment, or related impressions from a brief encounter in order to draw conclusions about each other. These factors can lead people to form remarkably detailed and long-lasting impressions that hardly ever change. The initial observation that someone is wearing conservative clothing such as a suit and tie, for example, may lead to the interpretation of a variety of other characteristics, such as being conservative politically or having a conservative job in the corporate world.
According to Wilson (2009) an indelible first impression is made within the first few seconds of an initial encounter. A person one is meeting for the first time may be intrigued, or they may be disenchanted, and the difference depends upon a range of factors which will be more fully examined and analyzed as this analysis proceeds. Ultimately, people make judgments about other people they meet for the first time very quickly, and once a first impression is made it is virtually irreversible.
Evidence From Research Studies
According to Science News (2010), a recent research study of how medical students evaluate their professors is demonstrating the critical importance of making a good...