Posted 30 March 2016 by Chris Farmer
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Impression management is the art of orchestrating your personal performance so that you leave a positive impression in the minds of others.
Each time you meet with people, you leave an impression in the minds of the others - either a positive or negative one.
The impression you leave is not "YOU", but it is completely dependent on what you say and how you act.
- If you are careful about what you say and do, then you will likely make a positive impression in the mind of your listener.
- If you are careless you might leave a bad impression.
First impressions do count. First impressions set the scene for the relationship.
Once a person has made up his/her mind about someone, then he tends to engage in a process of selective perception; meaning he will tend to gather supporting evidence to justify the original impression.
For instance, if upon meeting someone, you form a BAD first impression, based on something BAD that the person said or did, then you'll tend to notice additional BAD things that the other does. You'll tend to notice any more supporting evidence to justify your original impression.
On the other hand, if you originally form a GOOD first impression of someone, then you'll tend to see the additional good things the other does; and you may even excuse any bad things he may do.
People do "judge books by their covers"
They have to - It is all they know about you, since nobody can mind read.
- People will judge you on everything you say and everything you do.
- People will judge you on everything you FAIL to say and everything you FAIL to do.
For instance, people do make emotional judgements of others, based upon what they see and hear. They have to form a judgement, and they do.
- If you smile, and say "good morning", then that says one thing about you.
- If you don't smile, and if you fail to say "good morning", then that says another thing.
Now we have six questions for you to assess yourself in terms of your impression management:
Please mark yourself out of ten, for each of the following questions. If you are perfect, then at the end of these six questions you would score sixty points, and if you score less than 60, then you are less than perfect. (If you score yourself more than sixty, something has gone wrong!)
- To what degree do you believe that you leave a positive impression in the mind of your fellow human beings? Do you strive consciously to leave a good impression, (Score higher) or do you tend to think "I don't care what other people think of me. I am what I am. You can take it or leave it". (Score lower).
- To what degree do you think you make a good FIRST impression? Do people warm to you straight away, or do you think it takes time to get to know you?
- How would you rate your communication skills in relation to giving or explaining information? Are you always able to make your meaning clear, or do you sometimes have problems in any aspect of your communication.
- To what degree are you seen by others as optimistic, friendly and happy? Or are you more accurately described as being pessimistic, solitary, and grim?
- How would you rate your abilities to handle conflict? Do you handle disagreements and conflict in a positive manner, or do conflict situations soon degenerate into a negative emotional clash?
- To what degree would you see your role as having an element of salesmanship? Do you regard yourself in anyway as being a kind of salesperson? (Score higher). Or has that thought never occurred to you? (score lower).
Alternatively, why not try our online questionnaire Do you make a good first impression?
Ponder deeply the answers to these questions:
- How do you want to come across to others?
- What impression do you want others to have of you?
- What qualities do you want to be known for?
Make this sentence your mantra for the day. 'I will decide how I want to be perceived by others, and act accordingly, even on the days that I don't feel like it.'