A is for Appearance: The ABCs of a Great First Impression

First impressions are everything! Whether you’re introducing yourself to a new team member or heading into a job interview, the way you present yourself can be the make-or-break factor between a positive experience and a negative one. To add to the stress, you also only have about seven seconds before the other person forms an opinion about you.

Luckily, you can make every second count. On my Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast, I recently interviewed Sylvie di Giusto, a consultant, author, and international keynote speaker who uses her years of corporate experience to help other professionals use emotional intelligence and conscious decision-making to change their behavior and find the best outcomes. Sylvie and I had a fascinating conversation about first impressions, biases, and what leaders can do to set themselves up for successful first impressions.

According to Sylvie, learning how to make a great first impression is an easy as learning your ABCs. In the podcast, she shared her ABCDEs for making a strong first impression.

A is for Appearance. When someone meets you for the first time, the first thing they notice is how you look. Are you tidy and put-together? Are you dressed appropriately for the situation? Did you put effort into yourself before this meeting? While we can’t control every aspect of what we look like, pay careful attention to the factors you can control, like what you wear or how you style your hair. Present yourself in a way that reflects how you want others to see you, and you’ll gain a better sense of control of your first impressions.

B is for Behavior. In a first impression, others will also pay close attention to your behavior. This includes how you talk and act during your first meeting. For example, if you show up for a meeting with your boss and slouch in your chair, avoid eye contact, and constantly check your watch, they might assume you don’t want to be there. However, behavior goes even deeper than your actions and body language. During a first impression, others might be on the lookout for details about your mindset, ethics, and general attitude.

C is for Communications. Communication plays a huge role in the workplace, and good communications are critical for improving productivity, addressing conflicts, and avoiding slowdowns. When someone meets you for the first time, especially in a workplace setting, they want to know how you communicate. In particularly, they may be focused on your listening skills. If you present yourself as someone who listens well and genuinely cares about what others say, you’re more likely to make a strong first impression.

D is for Digital Footprint. Your first impression isn’t just about you. It’s also about your digital footprint, or your online activity. When someone meets you, they might turn to websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram to get a better idea of your lifestyle and personality. This is why it’s important to think about what you post online. Before you hit post, think about how it reflects you or if it goes against the way you want to present yourself.

E is for Environment. Finally, people notice the environment around you. In a workplace setting, this often means your office. Is it clean or messy? Do you seem organized or disorganized? Do you have anything in your office that makes a statement about your personality? Environment can also refer to other factors, like your car, home, or even your family. Like with appearance, there may be aspects of your environment you can’t fully control.

After The ABCs ...

Once you’re aware of the factors that go into a first impression, you can find the best ways to present yourself and put your best foot forward in every interaction on the manufacturing floor and beyond. While there will always be factors outside your control, go into every situation ready to do your best, and you’ll create better outcomes, find productive conversations, and forge exciting connections.

Learn More on the Podcast

To learn more about first impressions with Sylvie di Giusto, check out her episode of Mindfulness Manufacturing here.

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop floor. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.