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First Impressions Can Be Lasting Impressions

16 Apr 2013 11:28 AM | Working Women (Administrator)
By: Robin Lavitch

When I ask people how long it takes to form a first impression, I receive the typical response of three to seven seconds.

Did you know that it actually takes only a tenth of second to form an impression about whether someone is attractive, trustworthy and/or credible, according to relationship expert Tonya  Reiman? We mentally make judgments about people so quickly we are not even conscious of having made these judgments.

We quickly assess the appearance of an individual from their hair, dress, posture, and other subtle body gestures to see how similar we are to others.  We are aware that first impressions do exist, so we attempt to put our best foot forward, but what we think is our best foot, just might not be.

 Imagine what happens if we believe our right foot is our best foot, but someone else believes our left foot is best.  In the 1920’s Dr. William Martson, behavioral assessment psychologist identifies four different behavioral styles in his book titled The Emotions of Normal People

The information is now currently packaged as the DISC Model.  There are other variations relating to animals, colors, and behavioral concepts called MIND the Matters, where MIND is the acronym describing the four distinct styles:  Motivator, Investigator, Nourisher, and Dominator.

When we create an impression, our own behavioral style will influence
how we judge and evaluate others and how they judge and evaluate us.

As a Motivating Style, it is natural to dress in a trendy fashion with colors, patterns and textures that draw lots of attention.  Whereas the more reserved Nourisher Style would much prefer to wear natural and neutral styles to blend into the background and even walls as if they were a chameleon so they don’t get a lot of attention.  In this scenario, the styles are literally opposite and given how quickly we form first impressions, the first impression from either party would not be favorable.  The Motivator would think the other person is too reserved and the Nourisher would think the other person is over the top!

Can we undo first impressions or are these lasting impressions?

Body language expert Carol Kinsey Goman suggests 7 non verbal ways to make a first impression. She confirms studies have found that nonverbal cues have over four times the impact on the impression you make than anything you say.

The key to managing our relationships is to acknowledge how we are being perceived.  If we pay attention more to this and interact with others interests in mind, identifying the best foot is irrelevant because our focus shifts to connecting. 

To learn more about Robin Lavitch visit,


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