It takes 7 seconds to decide whether you like, dislike, will tolerate or ignore the person you have just met!’ says Gail Cameron, a Coach at My Pocket Coach. ‘Perception is the only reality we have. This reality is created by the image one projects and the way in which one communicates. We believe this is why it is really important to ensure you project an appropriate image and are able to communicate effectively, to lay the foundation for the reputation one wishes to create’.
Initial impressions can be potentially damaging. It is during the initial critical seconds when people first meet where reputations are made or broken. The old saying, ‘the first impression you make is the most lasting’ is terrifyingly true, believes Gail. The critical impression you make when first meeting a person is known to psychologists as the Primacy Effect.
Professor Shea said in his book on the Primacy Effect “you may be brilliant at what you do, but unless you are recognised as such, you may well be ignored.” Once a perception has stuck, it is extremely difficult to dislodge. Those who polish up their Primacy Effect and who know how to use it, win in the influence stakes.
So what is this Primacy Effect? The Primacy Effect is made up of primacy criteria namely your visual, vocal and psychological impact. The first aspect is the visual impact, and is not only what clothes you are wearing, but your grooming, posture, presence and bearing. It is about how you shake a person’s hand, the animation on your face. When Clinton walks into a room, he knows he looks like a million dollars and projects the requisite level of power. The essence of an image is about looking good and projecting power. Consider Mr Nelson Mandela who wore his trade-mark ‘Madiba shirts’, however when he needed to exert his power or make his power felt, he donned the dark suit. Think about the day he left prison, he wore a dark power suit.
Once one has seen enough to satisfy one’s curiosity, the voice and speech mechanism becomes critical. Voice and speech is the most powerful index of character. Experts say it takes less than 7 seconds from when one starts to speak for the listener to decide your background, education and what car you drive. Attached to this component is the way we command the language in which you are speaking. Words are powerless in themselves; however they become extremely powerful when delivered with a well modulated voice and in context. Tone or pitch of voice is important as the pitch of the voice will often set the tone of the communication.
The last and most important aspect of the Primacy Effect is the Psychological impactor. People who appear motivated, intelligently curious, friendly and forthcoming win in the influence stakes. Confidence is crucial here, as we know confidence the minute it enters a room, we smell it as we smell fear.
“In the time it has taken you to read this article, others would have formed an opinion of you!”
It is a truism in politics and business today that the best communicators are recognised, promoted and elected. Whereas the great thinkers who are probably better at getting the job done are not necessarily given the recognition and certainly don’t receive the reward they deserve. The best communicators lead, direct and motivate with authority.
Contact My Pocket Coach for a personalised assessment or view our web on http://mypocketcoachapp.com/ (011) 781-1444