Cre­at­ing first im­pres­sions

When you walk into a room, the goal is not cal­cu­la­tive be­hav­iour but set­ting the stage to your best ad­van­tage to cre­ate the right im­pres­sion.

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - WORKSMART - Gauri Ch­habra (The writer is a Pun­jab-based ed­u­ca­tion coun­sel­lor with 12 years of ex­pe­ri­ence. She can be con­tacted at gau­ri_­nag­pal@ya­ )

The HR ex­ec­u­tive handed me two files to con­duct the fi­nal round of in­ter­views for a mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist, "In my opinion both are equally qual­i­fied," she said.

Reena's in­ter­view was sched­uled first. Dressed at­trac­tively in a busi­ness suit she walked into my of­fice with an air of con­fi­dence. She main­tained great eye con­tact, smiled of­ten, an­swered my ques­tions with clar­ity and asked for the job be­fore she left.

But I was pre­dis­posed to hire my sec­ond in­ter­vie­wee of the day, Rita, be­cause she came with a rec­om­men­da­tion of a col­league. She walked into my of­fice with­out in­tro­duc­ing her­self and with­out ex­tend­ing her hand for a typ­i­cal hand­shake. Younger than her com­peti­tor, she im­me­di­ately gave me rea­sons to be­lieve that age makes a huge dif­fer­ence. Although pleas­ant in her de­meanour, she folded into her­self, an­swer­ing my ques­tions like a high school stu­dent re­spond­ing to the prin­ci­pal. I hired the lat­ter.

Big mis­take. As it turned out, Rita had no grasp of gram­mar while writ­ing emails and sup­ported a poor cus­tomer ser­vice at­ti­tude. This is when I re­alised how im­por­tant first im­pres­sions were.

Take no­tice of the tan­gi­bles

You don't have to be good look­ing but that per­cep­tion helps. Pack­age your ap­pear­ance to your best ad­van­tage; good groom­ing; cloth­ing styles and colours to com­ple­ment your body built, eyes, skin and hair colour. Know what works, what doesn't. Dress mat­ters. Con­sider con artist games. Most im­por­tant, dress con­veys au­thor­ity, a po­lice uni­form, a mil­i­tary uni­form and a busi­ness suit. Dress al­ways does the trick. In ad­di­tion to dress, con­sider all ac­ces­sories that com­plete the pic­ture; hand bag, jew­ellery, writ­ing in­stru­ments, brief cases. A bulging suit­case says," I do all the work". A slim brief case says," I as­sign the work". Only if you are a mil­lion­aire like Bill Gates or War­ren Buf­fet you can wear what you please. Check your sur­round­ings Per­sonal pres­ence ex­tends from your sur­round­ings. Con­sider each item in your space; cof­fee cups, busi­ness cards, mar­ket­ing ma­te­rial and the like. Re­mem­ber when you go for an in­ter­view you are made to wait in re­cep­tion area; all these things may be taken into ac­count. As­sess­ment can be made about your com­pe­tence by just look­ing at you how you con­duct at the wait­ing area. Set the stage to en­gage Con­sider how to con­trol per­cep­tion as you move, sit stand or walk through the cor­ri­dors dur­ing your in­ter- view. Re­search shows that the way peo­ple sit in a room af­fects whether the lis­tener tunes in or out those speak­ing. Space your­self in a way that you are nei­ther very close nor very far off from your lis­tener. If you want to in­crease your pres­ence in a group in­ter­view or dis­cus­sion take a seat at the ei­ther end of the ta­ble. This would in­crease your pres­ence and ap­proach­a­bil­ity. You are close enough to look eye to eye to gain more au­thor­ity.

In­crease ex­po­sure to change opinion

You may be ask­ing, "How can I change the first im­pres­sion"? An­swer plays the num­ber. In­crease your pres­ence. When­ever you have to go through se­ries of in­ter­view, take them se­ri­ously. Make them count. Pre­pare. Let peo­ple see you in dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments han­dling new things they will look at you with dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive.

When­ever you walk into the room as­sess the scene. Ex­pect oth­ers to do the same. When peo­ple size you up. Wel­come look-see. The goal is not cal­cu­lated be­hav­iour rather set­ting the stage to your best ad­van­tage. Set the stage and just play it right.

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