EDITOR’S NOTE: TheKSChronicles are the observations and insight of blogger and journalist Kerdisha St.Louis. Each article seeks to invoke a reaction and/or introspection from readers in Dominica and the Diaspora on various thought provoking issues and topics. We are delighted to present the first article in this exciting, new series on DNO.
First impressions count. The fact is, when you first meet a person, he/she makes a judgment about you in approximately four seconds and judgment is largely finalized within 30 seconds of the initial contact.
Everything contributing to the way you look on the outside is important. If it’s not helping you, it’s hurting you. While you cannot control your physical features, you do have total control over your dress and grooming.
Making judgments about someone’s personality based on the way they look is something humans do automatically, without thinking.
Once you get to know the person, those judgments gradually dissipate and get replaced by new assessments of what they’re really like.
Except that second bit, while believable, is not exactly true. According to new research, our first impressions of people in photographs influence our perception of those people even after we’ve interacted with them personally.
And while it might be a bit shallow and we would all like what is on the inside to matter more than the outside, sadly, that is not the case, and I have learnt that for us living in the Caribbean, there is no exception to the rule.
Flashback to my first interview straight out of college: I was fresh faced and eager to join the working force. I had properly mentally prepared myself for my job interview, even printing out notes and questions I had for my prospective employer and attired myself in my well tailored pantsuit and heels. During the interview I breezed through the question segment. However, I did notice that my interviewer would often get distracted, staring at me in a particular way. A few days later I got an email letting me know that I had gotten the job.
As you can imagine, I was immensely pleased and graciously accepted but I did inquire why the interviewer had given me those particular stares. The response was simply this ‘the interviewer was very impressed by your wardrobe considering the job you were applying for.’
It was at that moment that I realized exactly how much your appearance and demeanor can either open or close doors in your life.
I become conscious that dressing for success is indeed a real thing. I understood then that when you put 100% into something you more than likely will get back 100% or even more.
True the job I was applying for did not call for such extravagant attire, but I did feel like I had to put my best foot forward in order to get the job that I wanted.
Now I’m not saying to spend a large amount of money to buy a ridiculously expensive wardrobe but investing in a few good pieces in your wardrobe is something everyone can do.
Let’s now talk about the other 10% of leaving a first impression which is conversation.
It’s very important that no matter who you are speaking to or interacting with, that your first conversation be memorable but in a good way.
As hard as it is to believe you never know if the person you are interacting with is a future employer or business colleague and it is well known that bad impressions are most times more memorable than good ones.
So what do I mean by leaving a good first impression through interaction? I mean first try to sound as much as an intellectual as possible.
Yes we live in the Caribbean and dialect is something that we have all grown up knowing, but the importance of speaking like an educated person is not to be taken for granted.
The other half of the interaction is BODY LANGUAGE.
People from the melting pot of the world are well known for having fiery spirits and a lot of attitude, but sometimes this can be a hindrance to your success.
As a young person I can say that we often take for granted how we behave among our peers and in other social settings. We also have to take into account that we live in the digital age and whatever we put out there on the World Wide Web is not going anywhere.
I can’t tell you the number of times I hear from colleagues who work in human resource say that they have been discouraged from hiring many a person due to the content of their facebook, instagram and twitter.
Again, I’m not trying to preach. I simply want to use my observations and experiences to let people (especially young people) know that these little things can have a lasting impression in your life.
While the current trend may be to act in a particular way which can be described as “Rachet” or uncouth, this type of behavior is not going to be an asset when you are going to enter the professional workforce.
The message I want to leave is this, try to put a conscious effort everyday to dress and behave in a manner that helps to achieve your future goals.