The roles others have in creating your first impression & why sometimes you don’t even get a first chance to make a first impression
Being a stylist, you might think I just help people take care of the way they dress. But it goes way beyond that. I work with people that want to change their imprint on the world around them, and/or are interested in taking their self-confidence to the next level. This article is not about me though.
There are many elements that come together in order to do either of the above and there is also a plethora of individuals you can pay to help you. For me learning ‘style’ is a fantastic foundation and building block for your own self-improvement.
Having style isn’t just about expressing ourselves through the clothes we wear and having the confidence to do so, it’s about the whole way we present ourselves to the people around us. Our initial impact, body language, our handshake, the way we control our voice, and the warmth we give off when we meet someone for the first time among other things. Making the best possible first impression on people or enhancing your existing reputation with people you know.
We control people’s perception of us and our image, but it’s not just a case of getting our game face on when we need to. People’s perception of us is formed 24/7, and a lot of the time we are nowhere near them.
Most of us now have two types of footprint, the one we leave behind with our friends, colleagues and the people we meet and our digital one.
The bad news is, you are not entirely in control of your reputation, but the good news is you do have an important and responsible role to play in how it’s built.
Our ‘imprint’ or what we leave behind when we’re not there is partially shaped by others (our image). We invite these people to define our image, we are all Influencers when it comes to doing this. Our real-life friends, our Social Media friends and followers, even the ones that tagged you in that dodgy picture months ago. Our family, our business network and anyone we socialise with.
It is important we surround ourselves and have relationships with the right people and are mindful of who we spend our time with. The right people help you, not hurt or hinder you. It is important that we cultivate relationships with people that are like minded, driven, authentic and smart. I’m talking about genuinely nice people that you can get to know, like and trust.
The people you choose to spend most of your time with are the people that are going to have the biggest influence on you and your development. No matter who you are or what position you are in life, these are the people you can rely on to support you and help you get to where you want to go.
You may want to look at your close circle, the friends or associates of yours where you invest the most amount of time, is this nourishing or is it draining you? I’ve been through this exercise in order to grow myself and it is something that can be quite hard to do and take action with.
These days before people meet YOU, they may have already met the online version of you and formed their first impression or even opinion. Research shows that over 75% of people research the person they are going to see in person online first. Take responsibility for what you post online, what you allow others to post online of you and be aware of situations you put yourself in that could lead to online coverage.
We all know you can’t be completely in control of everything that shows up online attached to us or that includes us, but we can do our best to be responsibly minded when it comes to it.
Here are some basic examples that may help you:
- If you are going somewhere where you are likely to be filmed or photographed or quoted, be aware that those images or words could follow you around in time to come. Think about the picture you would like to paint of yourself with your personal presentation and the clothes you wear.
- Following on from the above, always try and have a soundbite or soundbites that makes you or what you stand for sound interesting, different or relevant. Know who your audience is and what you would like to say to them if given the opportunity.
- Try not to get involved in heated debates or arguments online. Know what you stand for or against, but never let it get petty.
- If you are very visible online, try your best to respond to people promptly if they contact you, even if it is to say, “I am sorry, I don’t believe I can help you”.
- Again, if you are very visible online, make sure you are transparent with your communications. Don’t give opinions that aren’t entirely yours, admit to any mistake you may have made and don’t try to cover any truths.
- Ask for reviews on your service or the product you sell. If people are going to look you up online, try and give them something positive to see straight away. There are many free ways to do this, Google My Business (formerly your Google Map listing) and Facebook Recommendations are two popular ones that can easily be seen online. LinkedIn recommendations on your personal profile is another way to generate positive feedback.
- Make sure your private information is secure. Check the privacy settings across all social media and make sure you are controlling what everyone sees of you. Also ensure that if people post and tag you in, that it notifies you first before it goes on your profile. Do this NOW!
- Set up a Google Alert for your name and the name of your business https://www.google.co.uk/alerts. This way, anytime something is posted about you online, Google can send you an email and direct you to the article, it works!
So, remember having ‘Style’ is more than looking good, it’s about the impression you leave when you are gone and what you give people to talk about when you can’t be present.
How are you going to take more responsibility for your image or successfully craft the image you want others to see? Remember, perception is reality!