You meet someone. In an instant you’ve formed an impression about them. And them about you. What happens when their first impression of you is not what you want it to be?
This week’s Inspire Me quote is Lily Tomlin:
“Sometimes I feel like a figment of my own imagination.”
What do you do when you meet someone and they form an impression about you that’s not who you are? How can you correct it?
Drawing largely from the principles described in Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson’s recent book, No One Understands You and What To Do About It, Leary and Armin talked about how first impressions are formed and how to overcome them.
We make two subconscious assumptions when we meet others: That others will see us objectively as we are and that others will see us as we see ourselves. Neither of these are true. Our first impressions of others is incomplete because our brains take shortcuts. These bias shape the way we see people and are what make it difficult to reform an impression after one is made.
According to Dr. Halvorson we view people through three lenses. The Trust Lens asks if they can trusted. Do they have good intentions toward me and do they have the ability to act on them? The Power Lens assesses what kind of power they might hold over you. Do they have the ability to get or prevent me from having what’s important to me? Finally, the Ego Lens sizes up whether the other is a threat to my self-esteem. Are they pursuing the same objectives as me in the same circles that I am?
Understanding how people perceive each other through each of these lenses enable you to create strategies that may help people form a more accurate impression of you and to overcome a bad first impression you may have left. Some strategies to overcome bad first impressions include:
- Getting their attention by “bombarding them with overwhelming evidence” contrary to the opinion they may have formed about you.
- Appealing to their sense of fairness.
- Apologizing for your own clumsy start.
- Contributing to their objective in a meaningful way.
This week’s Challenge Me:
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” Follow Lincoln’s lead: Think of someone you don’t like. What steps can you take to reassess your opinion of them?
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you: