Managing Your Personal Impact

First impressions are, undeniably important in terms of building your personal brand. Most of us are aware that others make decisions about us within the first few seconds of meeting us. However, if we are striving to make a positive impact on others, it is important to follow-up, with behaviours which support those impressions. Ways to improve and maintain your personal impact include:


Initial Impressions:

Demonstrate confidence – while this may not come naturally to everyone, practising until you do feel confident  will help. Push yourself to do things you do not feel confident doing, such as speaking publicly. After doing it a few times, it will become easier and you will be less inclined to shy away from such situations.

Personal grooming – ensure that you are always smartly turned out. This does not mean that you need to have the latest in terms of style, but ensure that your clothes are neatly ironed, shoes shined and heeled, and that hair and nails are neat – these points are equally important for men as they are for women. Also, ensure that you dress appropriately for the occasion and adhere to the dress code.


Body Language:

Pay attention to how you carry yourself, posture is important and is something which can seriously affect your personal impact, either in a negative or a positive way. Stand tall, sit up straight and carry yourself with confidence.

Make eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking. People who do not make eye contact can come across as suspicious or nervous, neither of which is a desirable impression to make. However, take care not to prolong it to the extent that it comes across as aggressive. Maintaining appropriate eye contact projects confidence and trustworthiness.

Control your facial expressions. If you are speaking with someone, try to appear interested and don’t allow your eyes to wander around the room. Your face can easily betray feelings of boredom, disinterest or anger.


In the Workplace:

Timing – don’t just be on time, be 5 minutes early to meetings. If you are running late, ring ahead to let the person know. If you are responsible for delivering a piece of work, make sure that this is delivered on time and if this becomes impossible, due to circumstances beyond your control, be sure to communicate what is happening to the relevant stakeholders as soon as possible. Try to offer some alternatives or solutions to the problem and apologise. Do not become known as unreliable.

Don’t be a gossip – if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing at all. Gossip in the workplace breeds resentment and mistrust – don’t be someone who contributes to this.

Listen to others – even those who are junior or less experienced. Don’t be known as the person who takes up all the airtime.