Getting your first impression right

As HR professionals, we know the importance of building a great personal brand. Nikki Heald, managing director of Corptraining, talks about how the first impressions you give others can impact on your brand.

Getting your first impression right
From a career and social perspective, first impressions count. They also impact on your personal brand.

It only takes a quick glance, for a few seconds for us to size each other up. While we may like to perceive ourselves as being non-judgmental, unfortunately we are.

With each new encounter we evaluate and are being evaluated, so it’s essential to generate the right impression. Additionally, how you are perceived internally is important if you want to progress in your career or be exposed to new or exciting job opportunities.

Reflect on your current brand and the impression you would like to convey to others. Consider your clothing and general appearance.

Do you dress to reflect your role and meet your clients’ expectations? We know that not every situation in business requires full corporate garb; however, being well-groomed and appropriately attired puts you one step ahead.

Be mindful of your non-verbal cues and build on your first impression with a warm handshake and a smile. We’ve all received the wet-fish or limp handshake at some point and never remember it favourably.

Finally, ensure that your verbal communication backs up your professional image and demeanour. Use language that is suitable, professional and free from any technical jargon or slang.

Three tips to get your first impression right:
  1. Immaculate presentation and grooming
  2. Open and approachable body language
  3. Appropriate and friendly speech
  • Nikki Heald is the managing director of Corptraining and co-authored the book Views On The Way To The Top. For more information, visit

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