BACK TO BASICS #4: First impressions

My last post in the Back To Basics series about beliefs and perceptions was short and sweet, because I didn’t want the importance of the point to be lost: your personal brand consists of not only what you believe it to be but how others perceive it.

And it takes as little as 7 seconds for that perception to be formed, because that’s how long it takes to make a first impression.  The amazing thing is how in-depth that impression will be. According to New York University Graduate School of Business, there are 11 different things we assess about someone in that time:

1. Their education level
2. Their economic level
3. Their  perceived creditability and believability
4. Their trustworthiness
5. Their level of sophistication
6. Their sexual identification
7. Their level of success
8. Their political background
9. Their religious background
10. Their ethnic background
11. Their social and professional desirability

Now, you may be thinking, “Really, I’ve got seven seconds to work out all that…how the heck?!”  But it’s a lot easier than you might think because you’re brain’s doing it without you even thinking about it.  For example, you’ll spot a wedding ring and have clues about the person’s desirability and sexuality.  Or you’ll hear their accent and make assumptions about their education, political leanings, ethnicity and religion.  And a study by Harvard University has shown that those assumptions will mean your first impression is, on average, 80% accurate.  So give yourself a gold star!

Of course, all the while you’re working out these things about the person you’ve just met, they’re doing exactly the same to you.  So make sure your personal brand is being communicated loud and clear because you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Find out more about others’ perceptions of your brand in my next blog…coming soon to a screen near you!

If you’ve enjoyed these musings, don’t be shy…leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at  Thank you!

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.   Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a service unlike any other. 


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