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First Impressions in Our Digital Age

By DSAdmin | Uncategorized

Dianne M. Daniels

"The world we live and move in today is very different from how it was 50 years ago, or even 10 years ago...we've fully entered the digital age and the age of the internet, and with those "ages" come big changes to the rules of first impressions. If we don't change and adapt, we'll be at risk of making bad first impressions, which we'll spend the rest of a relationship trying to overcome."

When your first impression is now likely to be made via email or on social media, things will be different from meeting in person. Even with video conferencing, there are a few more bits and pieces to keep in mind.

Let’s take a closer look.

Email is often the first form of communication when you’re meeting co-workers, clients, prospects, and the likes. You still want to make a good first impression there, and the rules are a little different. The two most important things you want to keep in mind with an email to make a good first impression is to check spelling and to choose the right tone.

Your tone will determine what salutation you use, how you frame the message you want to communicate, and how you close your message. Think about who you’re emailing and what this relationship will be like. Then choose appropriately.

If you’re not sure how to write a more formal email, do a quick google search for plenty of great suggestions. Pick one that feels right and comfortable for the way you prefer to communicate. You don't want it to sound like someone else wrote the email for you - that's inauthentic. Then go back at least one more time and edit your message as needed - give it a good spell check before you hit send. Sometimes an "automatic" spell check can miss industry terms, so double-check them.

Social media can be a little tricky because you never know who will come across one of your profiles or posts. Does this mean you have to censor every single post and make sure it’s “first impression worthy”? Of course not. That would take all the fun out of social media. Just be aware as you post and don’t do anything too embarrassing.

If you do happen to post something you feel could be embarrassing or cause you a challenge, make sure your privacy settings are set so only people who already know you can see it. What you do want to check on and make sure they're up to snuff where first impressions are concerned are your social media profiles.

Make sure the information on your social media profiles is up to date, the description is still accurate and that you have a good current picture of yourself on there. Do that and you’ll be just fine.

Video conferencing like Skype and Zoom, for example, are the closest to an in-person first meeting, and with push back on travel budgets continuing, they are becoming more and more prevalent in many aspects of the business world.

 The same rules apply where  appearance, body language, and related factors  apply. In addition, you also want to do what you can to avoid technical difficulties.

Check the connection ahead of time, reboot your computer, and make sure your audio and video work as expected. Of course doing a quick check of the background and lighting doesn’t hurt either.

Once you've done the technical checks ahead of time, try to relax a bit before your meeting. Be aware of the field of vision of your webcam if you're using one, and try a sample recording of your voice so you'll know what you sound like. Try to eliminate background noise and distractions - especially if you're working from home - and stay focused.

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In today's increasingly competitive world, you need every advantage you can get. A great first impression is one of those advantages, but what if you've already made the first impression, and...well...it wasn't the greatest? How do you get past that unfortunate occurrence and move forward? And what's the big deal about first impressions anyway?


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