Did you know that people decide how they feel about you within the first three seconds of meeting? This reaction, an auto-response generated in the most primitive part of our brains, evolved in our early pre-human ancestors when instant decisions about friend or foe were required to survive. The way we look and act generates subconscious impressions and comparisons with “stereotypes” in the minds of observers, often generating powerful emotions and judgments.
First impressions, even when untrue representations, are difficult to dislodge and change. A “good” first impression can be a powerful impetus for your career, just as a negative impression can be an impossible obstacle to overcome.
As a former senior executive of a multi-billion-dollar service company and a small business owner, I am constantly surprised by the naiveté of job applicants or new employees in their failure to recognize the importance of etiquette and manners in the workplace. There are few jobs that are so demanding or unique that they fit a single individual; in fact, for most jobs and promotions, there are literally hundreds of candidates with similar experience, competence, and skills.