First Impressions Count then in IT

As many people say “A first impression counts” in any person to person dealings. People can decide if they are going to get on with someone in the first seconds of a meeting or interacting with each other. (CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO, n.d.)

When people meet or interact it can create an event in which each of us uses our prehistoric brains to mentally record and store reference information. Our brains use our basic survival instincts or mechanism to understand whether the person is a friend or threat making decisions very quickly, therefore the way we interact in the first few seconds of a meeting “making an impression” is a crucial activity. (Goman, 2011)

Advantages of a first impression can be:

· Relationship Building: In my previous experiences a positive first impression can lead to creating a good social cohesion or a relationship between parties that are interacting. (Dobrin, 2013) I tend to meet a lot of IT vendors in my role and if I meet one that is late, rude or arrogant when they arrive then I find that the relationship tends not to be created in a positive manner or a bond is not created between us that keeps the relationships being built after the first meeting.

· The ability to understand if someone is trustworthy: If the person or persons in a meeting come across with good characteristics such as competent, skilled, have the correct knowledge or answers, and are confident but are not arrogant then what I’ve seen can support a good first impression that builds trust and can continue the relationship. (Schaller, 2008)

Whilst the benefits of creating a good first impression creates a positive lasting memory the negatives of first impressions can also create a lasting memory that can affect the way people interact.

The consequences of a first impression can be:

· Stereotyping or interference: Based on social experiences of cultural aspects, colour of the skin, classes or caste, religious behaviour. These impressions can all create immediate implications and create a barrier or block toward allowing other impressions or interactions to be accepted our brains. (Russell, n.d.)

· What is called the “Halo Effect”: Interpreting false impressions can be disrupted and can allow people to trick you into thinking that they are something they are not, namely they act their first impressions via their background, wearing clothing or make up, the way they act. This can be evident when dealing with an IT vendor again depending how professional and polished they personally act might be deceptive, this might in turn create a sense of trust in the person that the vendor might not be able to live up to. (Dobrin, 2013)

· A first impression can be wrong. Your brain can record information that is incorrect and when it sees new information, your old information is trusted and thus people’s first impressions can be effected by previous bad decisions or lack of context. (Gorr, 2011)

In an Information Technology world, we seem to forget we have clients or people that use the technology we provide. This could be as simple as the person next to you all another person in the world or environment you work in. IT gets a bad rap a lot of the time because we forget about every time we contact someone else we don’t remember to think about First Impressions, for example if the service desk person isn’t really as friendly as they should be or the service delivery ticket is open to long and there is no follow up. First Impressions still linger in people’s minds just like they would when you meet people, thus IT can be stereotyped, thought as the hero takers, and as some times the lazy bunch that don’t deliver on the expectations. If we thought about first impressions then some of this would and can be changed.

Conclusion:

In experience first impressions do count because they trigger emotions, however you need to understand the context of the impression, preparing for the meeting or interaction can help filter the wrong impressions and make sure that you don’t get the information record that might constrain interactions going forward. Social factors can have a significant impact of outcomes or interfacing for the first time. Sometimes it might be good to take a constructive second judgement before moving ahead with an interaction. Preparing for the meeting and creating / giving an impression is just as important and receiving one.

Don’t forget even telling someone bad news in the right way can get you support or help and a lasting impression. Don’t forget to smile…

References

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO, n.d. First Impressions Count. [Online]
Available at: http://www.csus.edu/indiv/l/luenemannu/pdf/First%20Impressions%20Count.pdf
[Accessed 23 08 2014].

Dobrin, A., 2013. Am I Right?. [Online]
Available at: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/am-i-right/201302/the-power-first-impressions
[Accessed 23 08 2014].

Goman, C. K., 2011. Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression. [Online]
Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolkinseygoman/2011/02/13/seven-seconds-to-make-a-first-impression/
[Accessed 23 08 2014].

Gorr, G., 2011. FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE OFTEN WRONG. [Online]
Available at: http://www.advisor.ca/my-practice/first-impressions-are-often-wrong-68680
[Accessed 23 08 2014].

Russell, B., n.d. SOCIAL FACTORS SHAPING PERCEPTION AND DECISION-MAKING. [Online]
Available at: http://www.trinity.edu/mkearl/socpsy-5.html
[Accessed 23 08 2014].

Schaller, M., 2008. Evolutionary Bases of First Impressions. [Online]
Available at: http://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~schaller/SchallerFirstImpressionsChapter.doc
[Accessed 23 08 2014].