I remember the first experience I had with understanding the value of a first impression. I was in my early 20’s and I was working at my second job where I held the position of Assistant Manager. I was one of three managers, and I loved my job! I came into work every day with a big smile on my face, and I was dressed impeccably from head to toe. My clothes were creased and either ironed or steamed. I understood that I had one chance to make a good first impression so I did not want to miss an opportunity to look, feel, and be my best.
My first encounter with a first impression involved me being promoted to work for another company as a store manager. One day a person unknown to me came into the store where I was working and said “Hi” with much enthusiasm and excitement and introduced herself to me by name and title. With only injections of words between each breath, I knew Margaret had important information to share with me. She shared that she had stopped in on several occasions and was impressed with how I interacted with my customers and the detail I applied to my physical appearance and wardrobe each time she saw me. Unknowingly I had been discretely under investigation by Margaret, the district manager from another company.
Margaret said she would like to interview me for a job in a nearby location as a store manager. I was excited to pursue a new challenge so I accepted the interview and within 3 weeks I was working for a new company as a store manager. This position furthered my experience in management by affording me the opportunity to receive two promotions. I went from being a store manager to a training store manager and then I became a district manager!!! Instantly those words of wisdom my parents spoke resounded in my spirit and I remembered that “to be your best and feel your best you must look your best.” Most importantly I remembered the importance of making a good first, and understood how a first impression can provide you with opportunities to excel in life both personally and professionally
So what are your thoughts about what it takes to make a good first impression? Opportunity can appear at anytime and anyplace, are you prepared to leave your best impression? Below I have listed 5 steps that have helped me leave a positive first impression and have opened doors for me to new opportunities.
5 Steps to Leaving a Lasting First Impression
- Dress for Success- regardless ofthe occasion or place of employment it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed
- Smile- a sincere smile is inviting and signals you are open for engaging with others, people are drawn to happy people
- Eye Contact- your eyes are an indicator of truth and sincerity, good eye contact communicates genuine interest
- Hygiene- shower, brush your teeth, use mouthwash, apply deodorant, and use un-offensive scents that are not overpowering to ensure positive and pleasant interactions with others
- Hand Shake- a firm handshake reveals self-awareness and your state of confidence which indicates your inclination toward excellence.
It is important to be filled with knowledge and information, but make sure your personal appearance and dress reflect the quality of performance you are capable of delivering. Physical appearance does not replace a person’s ability to perform, but it begins the conversation.
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