I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to a group of Medical office managers and Assistants last Friday in London, Ontario. It was so refreshing to see that they were truly interested in learning how they could be a better employee and also to make their workplace a better one for themselves and their coworkers.
It was a full day workshop with 5 different topics discussed. One of the topics was “The Power of Presentation” looking at first impressions. Each time I have presented this topic I continue to be amazed that we make first impressions of others in a blink of an eye .
The saying “ you never get a second chance to make a first impression” is very correct. First impressions usually stick and are rarely changed. When we are at work we are ambassadors of the business and its owner(s). The personal impression we give to others who come in to our place of business reflects not only on us, but also directly on the business .
If an employee is dressed sloppy, inappropriately, or dirty what type of impression will they make? People will not only think poorly of the employee they will wonder how good could the business be if they allow their employees to appear at work in such a way.
In Harry and Christine Beckwith’s book You, Inc. they discuss this very topic in a chapter called “People buy you with their eyes.” They state that “people think with their eyes” and “people hear what they see.” They go on to talk about a 30 second bank commercial that verbally stated three times that the bank had information people needed to make better financial decisions. To illustrate how people used information to make good decisions they showed a mountain climber preparing, studying maps and weather charts before making his ascent.
The viewers of the commercial didn’t hear the words spoken at all even though they were repeated three times. When asked what the commercial was about the viewers responded that the bank was communicating that the bank was strong. They got this impression from one image that flashed on the screen for less than four seconds of a man rock-climbing. The visual over-whelmed the verbal.
Those are pretty powerful statements and an amazing story when you think about it. It does seem unfair that our appearance carries such weight, but the fact is that it does. For Example look at the Disney Properties. All employees are clean and neat from Snow White to the Sanitation cleaners, no chance of seeing wrinkled clothes on anyone of them. That is the way that Walt wanted it and that is the way it has remained. He knew appearance carried a lot of weight.
In closing my presentation I told the group if appearance did not mean that much then why do people spend millions upon millions of dollars on styles like Prada, Dior, Gucci, etc.?
All it takes is an extra minute to look at yourself in the mirror before stepping out the door and asking yourself “what type of impression will I be giving today, when someone sees me?” Isn’t the impression that you give worth it?
Here is a link to a great article by Mind Tools on making a great first impression