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Networking 101 – First Impressions

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Dr. Renate Volpe, in her nugget cards entitled “Networking Tips” says:

“First impressions are important.  Make them work for you”.

I am often reminded by the various image consultants in my data base, of the fact that we have about 8 seconds or thereabouts to make an impression.

For me though, there are several ‘first’ impressions – visual, auditory and for me the most important of all – the impression you give overall, which is the one that I choose to use.

Think about it for a moment – the first time you actually meet someone you form some sort of impression.  Then if you chat with someone (without ever having met them), you form a completely different idea of the person – usually a visual image that ends up being completely different from the actual visual.

Finally there is an ‘overall’ impression and that can only be brought about over time and as the relationship builds and grows so the impression also changes and evolves (and often not for the better either).

In terms of the ‘visual’ impression – those who belong to the ‘body beautiful’ fraternity are often considered to have an unfair advantage – that said, if you have nothing of consequence to offer other than ‘the body beautiful’, the first impression that you created will not last very long.

By the same token if your ‘auditory’ first impression is also not supported by anything substantial – your relationship will not last.  Any and every impression that you make has to be supported by integrity, credibility and delivery.

Don’t think for a moment though that first impressions don’t mean anything – a good first impression will assist in getting the building of a relationship off to a great start.  Making a bad first impression does not necessarily mean that a relationship cannot be built – what it does mean however, is that the building of a relationship may get off to a very slow start.

Whatever works for you would be the most effective for you – remember though, your credibility, integrity and the fact that you deliver is what will support your ‘impression’ the most effectively.

For more information on Renate, please visit her website at www.drrenatevolpe.co.za

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