People - Top Tips - Personal Impact

Personal Impact

This document is designed as a quick reference guide to Personal Impact, with top tips on how to make a great first impression.

This will enable you to gain knowledge of a particular skill, task or process.

This means you can quickly find the key information that you need and refer to it on an ongoing basis whenever you need to refresh your knowledge.



Studies reveal that we judge people within 5 seconds of meeting them, and that only 7% of the first impression we make is a result of what we say. The other 93% is made up of body language and posture (55%) and vocal aspects like tone and clarity (38%). Granted, weÕll all have been in social situations where we can laugh and joke to our friends about our first thoughts about them. And many of us will be able to relate to the fact that, in many instances, itÕs only once weÕve allowed ourselves to get to know a person better that weÕre more able to gain a more accurate opinion about them. The difference in the workplace, however, is that whilst weÕll still naturally make a first impression about someone, we may never be in a position to meet with them again. Therefore, first impressions can prove to be everlasting and can make or break a business relationship, which can result in the gaining or losing of thousands of pounds worth of business in some cases.

People - Top Tips - Personal Impact

What you need to know

Impressions before youÕve even met

In business, whatÕs even more challenging is that people will often make a first impression about you even BEFORE youÕve actually met. ItÕs all based on the subject of perceived status and business hierarchy. Most business people will often know the job title as well as the name of the person theyÕre going to be meeting, before theyÕve even met. As a result, they will likely form an initial impression of a person, simply based around their ÔstatusÕ within a company. For example, if the person youÕre meeting is in a higher ranked position to yourself, youÕre already likely to be thinking that this is a person worth getting to know as they could be a valuable contact. If they hold the same or similar status to yourself, then youÕll think them worthy of your time.

However, if their status is below that of yours, then youÕre far more likely to keep them somewhat at a distance or, at best, tolerated. Obviously, this is taking this to the extreme but, nevertheless, it does occur and does demonstrate just how important first impressions are.


SoÉHow Do You Make A Good Impression?

Firstly, itÕs important that you both assess and identify your physical appearance, personality, and lifestyle and career goals. By doing this, you will be able to create a visual image of the kind of person you wish to be perceived as. This will then be reflected in the way you dress, such as the watch and the jewellery you wear and the car you drive and itÕs usually either one or several of these aspects which is likely to form a part of a personÕs very first impressions about you.


Body language too will be closely observed. The way you carry yourself, the way you speak, move your eyes, gesture with your arms or hands – all of these will be giving off signals for people to create their own first impressions of you. Even when you speak, this will be a clearer indication of the qualities you have as a person to do business with and will, to a large extent, enable people to form opinions about your intelligence, knowledge, skills and experience in a particular field.


However, itÕs often the WAY you speak that will be remembered more than WHAT you actually say.

Having polite manners, showing courtesy, being positive and energetic, coming across as reliable, honest and trustworthy and even smiling all help to give off a positive impression too.


Basically, all the things mentioned here is a reflection of what you portray as a person to a complete stranger. They are all facets of business etiquette that will combine to enable others to form a quick opinion about you. And, whilst you need to be yourself, itÕs often useful to spend a little time observing how other successful business people are able to command the attention of others.


Mostly this can be put down to years of practice and refinement when it comes to how they portray themselves. Without making a positive and lasting first impression, they might not even get to the stage of discussing business, theyÕll simply have left a negative impression on somebody who, when recalling that particular person, will firstly remember that first initial impression that they formed.


People - Top Tips - Personal Impact

What you need to know

Look At Your Corporate Culture

If we take some of the examples shown above, itÕs interesting to think that different people can perceive certain elements very differently. For example, a Rolex watch or a Ferrari sports car might be seen as aspirational by some, yet some people might think Òwhat a show-off!Ó.


Animated gestures with your arms and hands might demonstrate your enthusiasm to some but may be perceived as Ôover the topÕ by others. And, a sales personÕs confidence might come across as arrogance to some people.


Basically, there are no fixed rules as such about how you make a good impression. The areas discussed here are simply the main aspects that people tend to look at when forming first impressions so, itÕs always a good idea to get a feel of what is and isnÕt appropriate etiquette within your own specific corporate environment. This enables you to gain a better idea of how to create a positive first impression, as it will often be this that will ultimately determine your success or failure.