First impressions should be top priority

By Danika Young | LTVN Reporter/Anchor

First impressions can develop before a person even speaks. People, including myself, tend to overlook the significance of first impressions in everyday life, and while it’s no secret that first impressions are important, they may be more telling than you think.

Growing up in an environment where everyone wore uniforms, I have never thought twice about having to create a first impression. I always thought first impressions should be a priority at important moments, such as a job interview or meeting the parents. But the truth is, first impressions should always be a priority, even outside of formal settings.

But what even is a first impression? First impressions can be defined as the almost-instant conclusions we draw when meeting someone for the first time. People can form this opinion by quickly taking in information about a person, including their face, dress, posture and tone of voice.

A first impression can be formed in as little as seven seconds. As there are a few things people look at in that time, those seven seconds are crucial. It’s been seen that the primary effect also plays a significant part in first impressions. This can be described as someone experiencing something before the rest of the sequence of events but remembering that first thing more.

But how does someone create a good first impression in such a short time?

Eye contact is usually the go-to form of nonverbal communication and is imperative in a first impression. Having good eye contact is a way of showing respect and trustworthiness. According to experts, it’s safe to go with the 60/40 rule, meaning maintaining eye contact 60% of the time during a conversation to avoid an aggressive demeanor.

A welcoming smile is another one of the best ways to put someone at ease during a first impression. This shows you are genuine and honest.

However, what you wear can form an impression alone. Caroline Dunn and Lucette Charette of The National Research Council of Canada found that “People are affected by your appearance, whether or not they realize it, and whether or not they think appearance is important.”

Many other aspects can mold a good first impression, such as body language, confidence, empathy, authenticity and good communication, but it’s easier to start slowly into mastering a good first impression.

My grandpa used to repeat this quote to emphasize the importance of good impressions: “Look your best, do your best, be your best.” It’s simple, but it seems to be the key to a good first impression.