Personal Brand Image and First Impressions
Part 4: First impressions are critical for creating a positive personal brand image, especially as people tend to form initial opinions based on societal norms, behaviours, bias and external influences. Therefore, it is a matter of modifying behaviours to be very deliberate in actions when interacting and communicating with people. Body language, personality and appearance can play an important role in forming a positive personal brand image.
Presenting the Right Brand Image
A person who dresses smarter, wears a suit and is well-groomed in appearance generally stands-out more and often command a favourable image perception. Wearing a smart suit is often synonymous with being professional, showing confidence and an aura of greater success. Dressing according to the audience or working environment is important to comply with expectations in the organisation regarding dress code. Poor personal hygiene or looking scruffy in an old suit will not create the same personal brand image as someone who consistently dresses smartly.
Getting First Impressions Right
Making the right first impression when meeting people is extremely important in all walks of life, whether a business meeting, attending interviews or going on a date for instance. The way people interact, body language, eye contact and mannerisms can make an initial positive impression or leave a lasting negative impression. It can take 30 seconds to make an impression and a couple of minutes to reaffirm perceptions, so once perceptions are made they are very difficult to break.
It takes longer to really get to know someone, but initial impressions can make a big difference regarding overall personal branding and creating a positive brand image. Moreover, it is important to be polite and respectful otherwise people may not be taken seriously.
A handshake is often a sign of trust, communication and confirmation, so it is important to get this right. A weak or strong handshake can reveal things about personality and confidence. A firm and assured handshake shows confidence, assuredness and trustworthiness, whilst it can be a way of staying calm at interview by getting some of the initial formalities out of the way. From another perspective, a weak handshake maybe interpreted as being less confident and trustworthy. Over-aggressive handshakes can be off-putting, so it is about striking a balance to create a good first impression because the handshake is often the very first interaction with people or business associates.
Personal Brand Image and First Impressions – Conclusion
To be successful in any walk of life, first impressions are critically important. They can influence personal brand awareness both positively and negatively. Creating a favourable image is required and must be consistently reinforced by learning to stay calm, modify behaviours and remain professional at all times. Building a credible brand takes time and there is a constant learning process. Sometimes, the way people convey a personal brand image may have to be adjusted to suit different audiences, expectations and scenarios, so a refining of behaviours maybe required over time.