First Impressions Matter

November 21, 2008

There was a major reorganization taking place in a multinational company in America.
And so the CEO is retiring and the buzz in the work place is that the most senior staying executive might take over his place. A consultant was brought in. The senior exec talked to him and wanted to get his personal opinion about the matter. The consultant was a frank, brutal-to-the-truth kind of man who looked at him and said, “Frankly, I don’t think you will be chosen by the board to head this organization.” The senior exec was devastated. He said, “But I have the seniority, I have the skills, I have the qualifications and I have the experience and it’s a logical choice that I will be the next CEO of this company.”

The business consultant turned confidant with a serious look on his face said, “Yes, my friend there is no doubt about that but… you just don’t have the CEO walk!”

The moment I came across this story I knew what that means.

What’s a CEO Walk? What it means is that the way you look and the way you package yourself all says a lot about you. People see you and make snap judgments about you and this is why the way you look really matter especially in business.

People are way more critical than you think – don’t give them fuel for the fire!

First impressions are lasting impressions. But if you’re like most people, you probably can’t see the first impressions you’re making.

Now some people do not like this. They claim that what they are in the inside matters more than what they look like on the outside. True. No argument there but how many people do you know have the luxury of telling people, “Don’t judge me with how I look, I am really a better person from the inside…” People might say, ‘What are you smoking?”

Here’s what you can do. Ask one or more of your close friends if you are guilty of any of the following image deficiencies below. If so, thank your friends for their honesty, and don’t take it against them but immediately do something to correct your deficiencies! Create an impression you want to last by being conscious of the following:

1. Your handshake.

Some people shake hands with a limp wrist dead fish handshake and they think they are conveying humility by doing so. For a man this is a sign of weakness or disinterest for a woman a sign that she lacks confidence. Shake hands with confidence.

2. Your clothes.

I hear consultants say, “Your clothes do not have to be expensive…” Now coming from years of the garments industry background allow me to tell you that it is extremely difficult to get good, respectable and decent business clothes from 168 boutiques. Just like every good thing in life you need to invest in quality. And quality costs money. Good clothes last longer and turn out to be more economical when used for the long haul.

3. Your Words.

Now we’re moving into the less visible qualities that define your personhood. If you have a weak vocabulary then you would not be able to express your ideas very well and worst, people would not understand you well enough to respect you. Avoid mannerisms like “ah” and “um” and using slang and cuss words are simply not cool! I have also heard young women use words like, “Super,” “Awesome,” “Cool…” but they do not add value to your career development.

4. Your grooming.

Long hair, sideburns, three-day stubble, bad makeup job, un-tucked shirt or blouse, unpolished shoes – says to people: “Can’t be left alone for a second with prospective clients” – also a sign of intellectual sloppiness!

5. Your hygiene

Foul body odor, dirty fingernails, chronic bad breath – One of those things you want to ask your most trusted best friend about because (1) chances are, you can’t notice it, and (2) some people won’t want to hurt your feelings.

6. Your posture

People notice the way you enter a room, the way you carry yourself. Take a few deep breaths to collect yourself. Stand tall and hold your head up high. Walk with purpose and direction.

7. Your character

While it is difficult to assess the worthiness of a person’s character it its first and few encounters people could sense whether the person exhibits nobility by the way they speak and most especially by the way they treat those who are below them.

First impressions do last and you never get a second chance to create a first impression.

But one thing we need to remember is this. The Bible says human beings look at the outside appearance, God looks at the heart. This is why we have to make sure that the inside is clean first and the outside will take care of itself.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. ema

    Nice post sir! I learned a lot and the list is really a good reminder. 🙂

  2. corsing

    Sir Francis,
    my first time to have opened your website and I have said to myself that I would not miss a day without reading your post. You are one of a kind!

  3. michelle

    hi mr. francis kong… the best talaga kayo….

  4. Johnsenn

    Hi Mr. Francis Kong, i’ve started reading your articles or i can say “MASTERPIECE” way back 2007. it’s very interesting and so much inspiring. it definitely helps me develop my personality (emotionally, spiritually) as well, the experiences of different people you’ve shared, your personal experiences, articles from different books had absolutely UPLIFT people’s mind and SOUL. aside from the fact that it’s just an EXPERIENCEs, some of it happened in me as well. very realistic. thanks for inspiring people thru your works. More power and God Bless!

    by the way, thanks to POWERBOOKS for allowing people to read those books of yours. i’ve already finished reading the book (THREE LITTLE WORDS hehehe, am i right with the title?hehehe ).

    Thank you so much! 🙂

  5. Karen Israel

    Hello Mr. Kong! I’m happy that you replied with my comments. I’m also glad that you have taken some time to remark this complete stranger like me.

    This article is another thing to learn about and I think that my habit in reading your every posted article would be inevitable. It started just yesterday. Isn’t it somewhat becoming too proud when walking with your head on high? Well, I have tried it myself before and my classmates told me the first time they saw me (coz I’m a late enrollee) that they were intimidated by me and they thought that I’m snob. But when they knew me later the next day, they have realized that I’m friendly and always smiling.

    Thank you very much again and again! Always break a leg. Be my teacher! I’ll be your apprentice.

  6. gemcy

    Hello Mr.Kong..idol na talaga kita since that day na narinig ko kayong nag speech sa seminar namin sa previous work ko last april sa Oxford hotel Pampanga..halos lahat ng natandaan namin eh mula sa inyo..grabeh the best po talaga kayo..naka2 inspired po kau sir as n..yung book nyo po ang isa sa pinaka importanteng things na meron ako..hehe..take care always sir..keep up!!!

  7. quirino miano jr

    Sir Francis thank you so much! idol talaga kita. keep up the good work and God bless us all always.

  8. mickoanahaw

    My God! I never thought there’s a man living like you are. I attended the Grand Kapamilya Negosyo Fair this sunday and I was really astonished. I guess you’re gonna have another genuine follower this time hehe. Trust me that day I was about to run to you and say “Thank you Sir, I’m glad another man changes the way I am and the way I see life. Regards and God bless you Sir Francis. I hope to see you!

  9. Edelito C. Sangco

    Nice post Sir, I am a CEO of a fast-growing cooperative with head office in an island town and branching out to the mainland. As CEO, I need to met people, especially funders, both from here and abroad. Your tips posted here are really useful for me. Thank you and may your tribe of excellent writers increase.

  10. Meena Lama

    great information

  11. Belle

    First impression matter because this will be the first step to know the characteristic of a person. But its not to judge them if you see something not good neither accept her or him. And this will tell you how was the real attitude.

Leave a Reply