“The minute you walked in the joint…” the song goes. Countless research shows that we do of course make such judgements about people, but probably in a matter of seconds, rather than minutes. This is why image consultants spend a lot of time massaging their clients with advice on appearance and grooming. On our Personal Impact course, participants, when asked what constitutes impact, state elements such as “clothes, stature, smile, grooming etc."
We would agree that these are valid components of personal impact and all play their part. However, the obvious and important emphasis on first impressions has perhaps obscured the more important issue, and that is of lasting impressions.
We’ve probably all had the experience of coming away from a meeting or interview with someone and feeling somewhat uplifted and enlivened. We often attribute the success of the encounter to the other person - “they made an impact on us, a favourable impression.” We may even go further and say the person has something special, ‘is it charisma?’ we wonder.
We believe it is more than just one quality. It is about a relationship. What the person has is the ability to engage us in a relationship where something special can occur. That is why we put it more down to chemistry than charisma. And chemistry involves a mix of elements. One of the essential qualities is the need to focus our attention on the other person we are meeting. Stephen Covey tells us “seek first to understand, before trying to be understood.” Some years ago, a well-known human potential workshop dished out the aphorism, “if you want to be interesting, be interested.” It certainly seems a useful place to start, instead of waiting for the world to somehow discover our wonderfulness. This is why a starting point for our Personal Impact course is the idea “if you want to gain attention - be attentive.” The rest is practising chemistry.
Interested in developing your personal impact?