10 Keys to Powerful First Impressions

Wondering how to make a good first impression? Focus first on the visual impact you make when you meet people for the first time. Here’s why.

Image Development is the science and art of creating a Powerful First Impression. In the first thirty seconds people make judgments about you on a subconscious level, based on what they see, hear and sense. To create a Powerful First Impression, you must create a positive visual impact.

Here are 10 Keys to Creating a Powerful First Impression

1. Smile! A genuine smile, one that reaches your eyes and shines through your face and body language, is one that will encourage people to smile back. It makes strangers more comfortable with you, makes you seem more approachable, and gives a sense of comfort to those around you.

2. Use direct eye contact – You can convey power, authority and presence by using direct eye contact, and direct eye contact also conveys trustworthiness and confidence. Be careful not to stare hard at another person, or you could convey a more confrontational attitude.

3. Wear colors compatible with your basic coloring – Human beings are one of two colorations: warm or cool. People with warm coloring look best in yellow-based colors like gold, warm reds, golden browns, and rich ivory. People with cool coloring look best in blue-based colors like true reds, blues, greens and winter white. Your eye, hair and skin tone help determine whether you are cool or warm, and that helps determine what colors look best on you!

4. Have great Hair Days! – Don’t fight your natural hair texture. If you have extremely curly hair, find a hairdresser that has the skill and patience to cut naturally curly hair and celebrate it. You can develop a unique presence by your hairstyle, so if it’s straight, wavy, kinky, curly or nappy, enjoy it, and get a hairstyle that works with your natural texture. It’ll save you time and aggravation over fighting to straighten extra- curly hair, or trying to get kinky hair to lie flat like newspaper.

5. Choose makeup that is compatible with your basic coloring – Your best clothing colors depend on whether you are cool or warm and so do your best makeup colors. If you’ve been color-draped and know your ‘temperature’, that will help determine what colors of makeup are best for your skin. Warm brown or peach blushes look best on warm skins, and light pinks and true reds look best on cool skins. Not every woman can wear every color, and anyone who tells you otherwise is doing you a disservice. Find out whether you are cool or warm continue into a seasonal draping, and determine your best makeup colors for a more beautiful you.

6. Watch those lines! – Every day that you get dressed, you are sending a message. If you purchase clothing based on it’s effect on your body frame and choose items that celebrate your best features, getting dressed will no longer become an occasion for anxiety, but one of joy and happiness! The right proportions of clothing can make you look younger and thinner (or fuller, if you want that!) or they can make you look dowdy, matronly or unfinished. Choose to look your best in clothing that flatters your silhouette, body frame and size.

7. Express yourself! – Choose accessories that bring in your personality. If you have a vibrant, lively personality, let it show through in your accessories. A colorful or elaborate hat for special occasions, a special pin or scarf, or for gentlemen, a favorite tie or cufflinks can make the difference between a me-too business or personal outfit and a Just Me outfit that makes you stand out from the crowd. Celebrate your personality and individual style in your accessories, and you’ll be better dressed!

8. Make it all compatible – We all know that you shouldn’t wear summer sandals with a winter wool suit, but did you know that certain combinations of fabrics and materials are just as improper in combination. Choose similar fabric weights and textures to avoid looking ‘thrown together’. You want to have a consistently great appearance every day, not hit or miss. A total look that is confident, fashionable and sophisticated can be achieved with a minimum of fuss and bother.

9. Avoid trendiness at all costs – The trend of the moment may not be right for you! Some of the fashion trends that have come and gone include micro-minis, hot pants, the ‘grunge’ look, psychedelic eye makeup and others. Though these trends may be fun to look at, they are often impractical for everyday wear, or simply not affordable. Choose items for your wardrobe that can serve multiple purposes and won’t look dated as soon as they are purchased.

10. Spend well, not often – Use the principle of Capsule Wardrobing to choose several colors that look great on you, then mix and match pieces within those colors to create a workable, professional and easy-to-wear wardrobe that won’t cost an arm and a leg as you try to keep up with the ‘trend of the moment’. You can purchase just 12 garments in 3 basic colors, plus 1 or 2 accent colors, and create 35 – 40 different outfits!

What message are you sending with your Image? Are you displaying a current look without being a slave to the trend of the moment; is your look finished, complete and together, or is your Image in need of an update?

Dianne M. Daniels is a Certified Image Consultant and Color Analyst, and the author/publisher of “The Image & Color Digest” ezine. She has helped career professionals and entrepreneurs refine and define their personal and professional image. 

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