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How much does a first impression count?

How much does a first impression count?

The girl bit her lips tensely as she walked down the vestibule of the posh multinational company. It was her very first interview after she had graduated from one of the top business schools of USA. Her exasperation was evident from the speckles of sweat beads on her forehead; yet she felt confident. Confident that her grades would impress the interview board, that she feared no question shot from the opposite end, and that she was perfect for the corporate world which has been beckoning her from behind the glass doors for years now. Yet, one nagging apprehension remained. What if the first impression goes wrong?

The mantra of first impression

The ‘girl’ is indeed right. There is something about a ‘first impression’ that seems to be inevitable. Most recruiters have their hunches resting on first impression. And so does it go for the rest of the world. When one meets an individual for the first time, there goes a very primary impact of that person on the latter. This impact is mostly the deciding factor as to how one would receive the other individual, what kind of interaction would follow, and if at all, they would want to be ‘in touch’ with each other in times to come. When it comes to normal day-to-day relationships, a first impression may be the impetus to a man asking a woman out for a date or two people finding each other ‘like- minded’ and eventually becoming friends. Professionally, it would decide if the employer would prefer a certain candidate. Politically, it would decide if there would be enough people’s support for the politician in question. Hence, first impression sets the parameters of an individual’s acceptance as a social animal. It is an introduction to whether he or she would be ‘accepted’ or ‘denied’ by the people they are interacting with.

First Impression: How does it work?

One can compare the ‘first impression’ with a coin being tossed. Unless the coin comes to a halt, no one can really predict whether it is a head or a tail. Similarly, a first impression triggers off a range of impacts on a person. These impacts are like the tossing coin. Now, the outcomes of this impact can either be positive, or it can be negative. Exactly like a head or a tail. These outcomes are the end effects of the ‘impacts’ mentioned before. So if one has clearly understood the simile here, then one can clearly interpret the exasperation of the girl who was about to give her very first interviewed and who constantly panicked about her ‘first impression’.  A positive first impression would increase the probability of her recruitment, while a negative impression would simply nullify all possibilities. That is the exact catch point regarding a first impression. One never knows how it would turn out, and that is what perplexes and agitates the individual who is keen on taking the situation under control.

So, where is that importance of a first impression?

It is indeed important. An example would be perfect in this context. Mahatma Gandhi,  who had relentlessly advocated ‘Satyagraha’ against the British Rule in India, had hardly been a ‘known’ entity  to the Indian masses, when he returned to his country after successfully leading an agitation against the ‘rule of the Whites’ in South Africa. Owing to India’s parallel situation, he had emulated a similar movement in the country, to mobilize the Indians en masse, for a full-fledged non-cooperation of the British rule. Yet, the Indian crowd hardly knew this man. Yet, his simplicity, depicted by modesty of his clothing, the honesty of his speech and the power of his resolution made him instantly popular with the ordinary Indian people. That was the ‘authority’ of Gandhi’s first impression.

The importance of an impression is more than what one can imagine it to be. It seems immensely futile, yet it garners all the advantages that can make or break a person’s social image. A first impression could win the hearts of thousands and millions and get the whole country to buckle up its shoes and fight against imperialism. That is how the influence of a first impression works.

Times today: First impression is the last impression

From Gandhi to the corporate boardroom, first impression has worked its wonders from time to time. Coming to the contemporary scenario, virtues of image managements vouches on the fact that, a first impression takes around 30 seconds to build up. So when one meets a person for the first time, it is within these first 30 seconds that the latter forms and impression about the former. Intriguing indeed, but the complicated human mind functions according to the vibes received during these first 30 seconds. It is not a compulsion that a first impression has to be the ‘prime decision maker’ about how one is received by the other individual. It is definitely not always true. Yet, most of the world actually runs on this first impression. It is a world that has ‘globalized’ by holding the hands of competition. And the one area where a person should never fail to achieve a perfect score is in establishing an impression on the first, primary cue. It is important because ‘socializing’ is mandatory, and that is impossible without interaction with other people. Socializing helps you be part of the society, be it the neighborhood or the office, or in the academic circle. Unless one strikes a chord of accordance with people, ‘survival’ indeed becomes tough. Yet, that doesn’t necessitate an individual to go and impress every person he or she gets to meet day-in and day-out.


Running surveys has proved to be in favor of the importance of first impression. It is not to be undermined, as in the fast paced race that everybody is a part of, an impression can be more than what one needs to win the world around.

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