Archive for March, 2014

Mastering First Impressions…

March 5, 2014

first-impression-1cpq5ujIn a broadcast of ABC World News Tonight that aired back in February 2004, I learned of a study that Tufts University had conducted that studied how quickly people can draw a first impression conclusion about someone.

What you will read below is a summary of a study about how quickly people, including prospects, can draw a first impression conclusion about someone else in about 2-5 seconds. There’s no margin for error with first impressions.

What we should learn from the study is that before we make a cold call, or any call to a prospect or customer, salespeople should seriously consider the first impression they are giving to their prospects in the opening 2-10 seconds of any cold call. One misspoken word, or the weak sound of your voice can create the wrong first impression, so you have to be careful what you say and how you speak to sales prospects if you want to avoid creating the wrong first impression of yourself and hurt your chances of success. Read on…

ImageQuick Encounters, Lasting Impressions

Nalini AmbadyResearch by a Tufts psychologist indicates that humans can form a lasting impression of another person after just a few-second glimpse.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02-17-04] Political candidates, job seekers and public figures take note: first impressions count – and they may be made a lot faster than most people think, according to a Tufts psychologist’s research. In an interview with ABC News, Tufts’ Nalini Ambady said humans can make a lasting judgment about someone after seeing their face for just a few seconds.

“Human brains, says professor Ambady, can decide a lot in [just a few] seconds,” reported ABC News. “So quick impressions matter.”

Ambady proved the point in a unique experiment she designed to test the power of brief encounters.

“She asked students to come to a classroom where she showed them short videos [10 seconds long, without sound] of teachers they’d never met,” reported ABC. “Then the students were asked to rate the teachers in a variety of categories.”

Ambady compared the results with course evaluations submitted by students who took a course from the professors over a full semester.

The results, Ambady told ABC News, were startling.

“Students who saw professors for 10 seconds gave the exact same ratings as students who knew them for months,” reported the news report.

Ambady shortened the clip from 10 seconds to just two seconds in a similar experiment and achieved the same result.

“There was very little difference [in their evaluations],” the associate professor told ABC News. “It was amazing.”

During just a brief encounter (“It passes by fast,” Ambady jokes), humans can make what appear to be quick, but lasting, judgments. The roots of the phenomena may date back to earlier, more primitive times.

“From pre-historic times, we have evolved to look at faces and make snap judgments – is he going to hurt me? Is he going to help me?” reported ABC News. “Even the briefest glimpse makes an impression – a bigger impression than you know.”