Why Your Image Matters?
In this blog post I am explaining why your image matters. We are also taking a look at the science behind first impressions to understand the complex thinking process better.
Later in this article I am also explaining the risks involved in this fast thinking process. I hope it will help you to contribute to a better society and more diverse workplaces.
People Size You Up In Seconds
Your personal image is the perception that people have about you. It affects your success in every aspect of your life.
When a person meets you for the first time, their brain makes several snap decisions about you. The process takes just 7 seconds and it is unconscious. Some decisions are made even faster and we are totally unaware of it. I find it fascinating!
These snap judgements include the following elements about you:
- Social class
- Education level
First impressions have a huge impact on all further interactions. We all have had that new colleague that you loved from moment one. And also we all have had that new boss who we just knew we could never get along with.
If you look back you can probably find several real-life examples of situations where first impressions played a large role in the outcome of a situation.
Learn to make the most of your seven seconds with my image consulting advice. Take your personal brand on a next level that exudes confidence and professionalism.
The Science Of First Impressions
People are programmed to make a quick opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your gravitas and your style.
We still tend to trust our first impression, even if we learn more about the person. This is a survival mechanism that has kept us alive and built our society.
It’s a relief to know that everyone goes through this fast thinking process. Us humans are born that way. They are not out to get you and I don’t want you to be paranoid about this.
Trust vs. Respect
According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy in Business Insider the rapid decisions that people make within seconds from seeing you for the first time come down to two boiling questions:
Can I trust this person?
Can I respect this person?
From evolutionary point of view it was crucial for survival to be able to judge a situation or a person in a split second.
People needed to make fast decisions in order to survive. Was the person (or animal) they were meeting an ally on an enemy? Did they need to make a quick escape or was it safe to stay?
Life then was very much about risk evaluation and rapid assessments. There was no other choice. To this day we carry those traits of our ancestors inside of us.
Nowadays, when life is not only about survival, these traits are used in a more sophisticated manner. Or at least in an ideal situation they are used for doing good.
In the next chapter I am looking at the dark side of making snap judgements of other people. It’s an important chapter so continue reading with an open mind.
Risks Of Trusting First Impressions Blindly
We know now that first impressions and image are important and that they really matter. You should but some serious effort in yours. But don’t trust the first impression of others blindly.
You may have caught the person on a bad day. We all have those, right? Be compassionate and give the person a second chance. Make playing fair part of your values. It shows true leadership quality.
There are also serious risks involved in trusting first impressions blindly. Everyone needs to be aware of them so that they can give other people a fair chance and build a better society.
Actively question yourself and your peers. Are you being fair and honest? Or are you biased?
Judging the book by it’s cover have caused a lot of pain and injustice in the world. Stereotyping and unconscious bias has lead to major social issues such as racism, sexism and ageism.
Prejudices and taboos can be very hurtful and lead to unfair situations. They can lead to missed opportunities, abuse, neglect, poverty, (mental) health problems and even death.
Biased thinking makes toxic workplaces and is bad for business. Nowadays there are dedicated trainings available to battle workplace bias. Would your organization profit from one too?
Are You Being Judged Accurately?
You can control that people are judging you accurately and not being confused or distracted about your image. Part of this transformation process is simplifying things. I am encouraging you to build a more powerful image with less aspects.
People want see the real you. But in a way that they can understand easily and fast. Every aspect of your image should support this goal.
It’s important to remember that authenticity doesn’t mean spilling all your secrets out there. You are in control of what you are giving away -and what you are keeping to yourself.
Learn to make a great first impression with my image consulting tips
Your Image Matters To Your Success
My conclusion is that your image matters. It should not be neglected or it’s impact should not be underestimated. Everyone has a personal image and a personal brand. Successful people are in control of theirs.
“How you look, how you speak, and how you act turn out to be critical to your success, our report concludes, at every step in your career journey.”– Center for Talent and Innovation
So be mindful about your personal image because it’s crucial to your success. In a competitive situation against other talented and experienced people (just like yourself!) it can be a true deal-breaker.
You have probably been yourself in a situation where you are weighing two equally good people against each other. Can you pinpoint the thing that made you choose the other person over the other? It may have well been their personal image that made you favor them.
Make your personal image a priority this year. Invest some effort in getting it back on track or improving it further. I am here for you throughout the process live and online.
Gain Control Of Your Image
Remember to always remain as authentic as possible. Your personal image should be intentional and a reflection of who you really are. Never an imaginary or untrue construction.
Your personal image is one of the few aspects of your life that you have a full control of and I am delighted to help you to invest in yourself.
I am passionate about your personal image and brand, first impressions (in face-to-face situations and online) and your style.
I want to help you to put your best foot forward in the current competitive business environment.
Let me worry about the looks. My image consulting services help you to focus on the very essential: Your fantastic skills and amazing knowledge.
They also save you valuable time for more important matters in life, such as family, friends, hobbies and me-time.
Need more convincing? I got you covered in 3 Reasons to Hire Me
Elements Of A Successful Personal Image
- Inspiring: Create enthusiasm and make people feel empowered.
- Memorable: Stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.
- Approachable: Be open, communicate clearly and make people feel comfortable around you.
- Genuine: Remember to be the unique charming you.
- Engaging: Create lasting relationships and allow people to commit to you.
READ MORE about the impact of your personal image in I on Image’s 3-part blog series “Your Personal Image Is Everything”
Let me know how I can help you to make a great first impression. I would love to help you to put your best foot forward!
This blog post was originally published on 3rd January 2018 and updated on 2nd January 2021 with improved image consulting advice and better structure.