Making Right Decisions About First Impressions

711785_foot_impression It is sad to say but too many times we make “snap judgment” decisions when it comes to our first impression of someone or a situation.  This is especially true when someone has told us something about the person prior to our meeting them. The decision is made and then it is justified instead of the other way around and more times than not our first impression of someone is our final impression.  I heard a story once about a group of college students that were divided into two groups and shown a 10 second clip of a professor who was lecturing. Before they saw the video half of the students were told that the professor mainly taught accounting and the other half of the students were told that the professor mainly taught philosophy.  Both of the groups watched the video of the professor and after it was done the first group (who thought the professor mainly taught accounting) were asked what they thought of the professor; their opinions were all pretty much the same in thinking he seemed cold, uptight, rigid and mechanical.  The second group (who thought the professor mainly taught philosophy) all had pretty much the same opinions of the professor thinking he seemed very pleasant, a thoughtful thinker and had depth and caring.  Amazing that both group saw the same 10 second video and arrived a very different opinions of this man all because of what they were told his main “educational major” was.  Now the story gets even better, all of the students that saw the video were going to be taking the same class from this professor but the class did not have anything to do with either accounting or philosophy.  At the end of the semester after taking the class with him all of these students were surveyed as to what their opinion was of this professor after taking a class with him.  To their surprise the student’s opinions of the teacher varied very little from their first impressions. It is pretty amazing to think about that a 10 second video and a few words totally swayed these students opinion about this professor. 

Although it is important to listen to what someone may be telling you about another it is very important that you try to draw your own impression of who that person really is, and that is not easy especially after you have heard something negative about them.  As an employer or co-worker it is important to draw your own conclusion of what your impressions are of those you work for and with and to not base them on “here say.”  People’s true colors usually come through eventually whether they are good or bad, but it is so important to draw your own impression and not that of someone else.  After hearing this story above and how first impressions really do stick with people it really makes me think about what type of first impression I might be making and by keeping this thought in the front of my mind it has made me more aware of those that may be watching.  Good food for thought!

Related Article on First Impressions

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