Prime Impressions

Is Your Image Working for You?

Ten seconds is all it takes to make a first impression – whether it’s your personal presentation or the first contact a potential client or customer has with your company. When you walk through their door – or they walk through yours – your image is imprinted in the first moment. Make sure you know what it is.

Research has proven that 67% of first impressions are accurate. Your image tells the world who you are and where you are going. Your company image says the same. Every email, voicemail, and phone call you make creates the first impressions that build your self-brand. In person how you shake hands, make eye contact, conduct yourself in social situations and the clothes you choose to wear continues to build your self-brand.

Your image is like the weather. People notice when it's extremely good or extremely bad. First impressions, often based on appearances alone, can indicate to a potential employer or client, one's sense of taste, ambition and self-esteem. The moment another person looks at us, sight-identification is in effect.

There is no doubt that personal presentation plays a big part in succeeding in your career and business operations.

Personality Profile

Another measure of your success in dealing with people is due to personality. The dictionary defines personality as, “the quality which distinguishes one human being from another, individuality, distinctive personal characteristics”.

In the corporate world the professional must discover his or her personality type. Self-analysis, discovery of plus and minus personality traits is important before an adequate self-satisfying self-image can be developed. Aggravating speech habits, lack of good manners, sloppy dress and grooming are your worst enemies.

Your personal manner speaks loudly to other people. Your voice, way of talking, eye contact, body language and the way you develop relationships at work all count towards giving you a ‘manner’. We’ve all at times been horrified or surprised at hearing second or third hand what impression we’ve made on someone.

The best approach is to be yourself – but keep in mind an awareness of how you may strike other people and recognition that you can’t just let your manner work itself out because it’s the little things that can make the crucial difference.

Punctuality, your tone of voice, these are the things about you that speak loud and clear to others. Make sure that they’re working for you. I’m sure you’ve all experienced the front office receptionist who looks the part, very corporate and presentable but when she opens her mouth it’s another thing all together. Or the savvy salesman who is very convincing and authoritative on the telephone but when you meet him in person his sloppy dress and manner let him down.

We invest a lot of time, effort and money into learning or upgrading our skills for the job or setting up our own businesses – why not invest some time and effort into ourselves – making the most of what our natural image is. Learn how to develop your professional image and present yourself in a way that is unique to your person.

* Brand all letterhead, newsletters, email messages for a professional image

* Personal branding – establish a strong visual image – be aware of grooming and professional dress sense, walk tall

* Self image – get rid of bad habits, develop self-confidence and charm – smile!

Sue Currie is a professional speaker and the director of Shine Communications Consultancy an executive development company. Sue’s strategies help boost your public profile and increase profits by enhancing your professional image and building brand visibility.

Through her training and speaking programs on personal branding, image and media, she helps you to grow your company’s major asset – You! Sue enjoys helping others to bring out their personal best and Shine. To find out more visit

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