Making a Great First Impression

By Darren Hardy for


People judge you.
That’s a fact, not a threat.

In 7 seconds someone has made a decision about you.

They do it unconsciously, whether they want to or not and whether you like it or not.

Thus you can say based on how you show up that within 7 seconds you’ve lost the sale, connection, date, investment, client or opportunity.

Done, game over.
And once that first impression is made it takes a very long time to change it, if ever.

On a previous blog comment Rohit Kedia asked this of me:

“Could you please do a piece on how to make a terrific first impression (beyond being impeccably dressed)?”

Yes, Rohit, I will and I’ll do it progressively over the next three posts.
Thanks for asking.

First off, a good first impression starts on the inside, not outside.

You cannot fake a good first impression.
People are (intuitively) smarter than that.

Here’s how it works:
We are equipped with these mirror neurons that unconsciously look for, well, its mirror, someone just like itself. While there are undoubtedly visual cues, it is more of a “feeling” function, an intuitiveness.

For instance, I have met other impeccably dressed people who I have been repelled by. It wasn’t how they showed up on the outside that repelled me, it was more interpersonal. Ultimately, this is how “birds of a feather” end up flocking together.

I always find it interesting when I observe a room full of people who don’t know each other. After they mill about for a while, without fail, by the end of the day the “like birds” will have found each other and flocked. It’s high school all over again: the jocks, the nerds, the Goths, the band and the stoners all find each other.

While the “flocks” can also look alike, it is their shared values and attitude that brought them together. The visual cues just helped them sort faster. To put a spin on a Jim Rohn quote, “A good first impression is not something you pursue, it’s something you attract by the person you are.”

So, point No. 1 is: Become an attractive person—from the inside out.

Here’s how:
Who do you want to make a good first impression with? What caliber and type of person?

1. Write a long list of their attributes. These are attributes of character, attitude, mindset and philosophy. Make a long list and then boil it down to a half-dozen.

2. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 on each of those half-dozen attributes. Now wherever you are short you now have your personal development plan to improve your first impression to your intended flock.

3. Write out all the observations you make about your desired flock. How they walk, talk, carry themselves, shake hands and interact with others. How they dress, what they talk about and care about. Start adopting these behavioral and visual cues.

Start with this primary counsel and we will continue next week with more suggestions.
Please pass this article along to your most favorite friends.


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