Put Your Best Foot Forward: Make a Great Impression by Taking Control of How Others See You by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, PhD, and Mark Mazzarella, is an informative book aimed at teaching about how people judge you and what can be done to impact their impressions positively. The authors reviewed scientific and popular literature, performed over 10,000 interviews and analyzed thousands of questionnaire and survey responses to arrive at conclusions.
The foundations of a great impression are trust, caring, humility, and capability. Impressions of you derive from appearance, body language, voice, communication techniques, communication content, action and the environment. To be perceived as trustworthy, you must be reliable and honest.
The most entrenched stereotypes and prejudices are based on the actual experience of the person who harbors them. Intuition arises when years of experience stored behind the curtain of our subconscious percolates from the deep recesses when our memory is presented with similar experiences.
The key ingredients to a great impression are ranked by the authors. These are sincerity, caring, reliability, interest, intelligence, competence, humility, friendliness, confidence, and some level of attraction. The significance of the study can be found in what characteristics people rate the highest and lowest in importance.
The authors spent a lot of time discussing important attributes for leaders. Leaders are doers. They project confidence without being too pushy. A leader watches over the flock and makes others feel that they are cared for deeply. A leader trusts others to succeed. Leaders are enthusiastic, capable, and lead by example.
First impressions tend to last for a variety of reasons. Others form stereotypical associations about you that are based on emotions. Once emotional impressions are formed, these color rational analysis. People tend to assume that their first impressions are correct. Once first impressions are formed about you, people search for validations of those impressions, consciously or not.
There are six important steps to making a great impression according to the authors. These steps include learning to see yourself as others experience or view you. Be clear about your objectives. Know your audience. Create an individualized impression management plan for each different encounter. Roll with the punches.
Put Your Best Foot Forward is a wonderful book which greatly simplifies the human complexities involved in interpersonal communications in almost every context. The authors are persuasive in conveying easy rules of engagement to maximize the positive dimensions of impressions all of us create with people in almost every life context.