Research conducted by RADA in Business has found that making a good first impression is a rare skill. According to the study, which has been published in an online report called ‘All the workplace is a stage’, less than a quarter (22%) of those surveyed said that they often come across people at work who make a lasting first impression.
The overwhelming majority of us (78%) say that we seldom meet someone who makes a strong first impression, with over a quarter (27%) saying they “never” or “rarely” encounter these charismatic individuals.
However, it seems that many business people are blissfully unaware of how little impact they are currently making. 71% of people believe that they regularly make the desired impact on others in a first meeting, despite the research showing this to be incorrect.
Nearly half of those surveyed (47%) believe that their communication style has the necessary influence in the workplace ‘‘always” or “most of the time” – although the research shows this is far from true.
Charlie Walker-Wise, Client Director and Tutor at RADA in Business, comments:
“As this research shows it’s harder than people think to make a lasting first impression. However, by employing some of the techniques used by actors when performing on stage, you can drastically increase your levels of success.
“Using your peripheral vision is crucial when entering a new space, so that you can absorb the atmosphere of the room you’re walking into and see everyone in it. It allows you to gauge the physical environment and emotional climate.
“By making positive physical and vocal choices your audience can see that you’re available to them and engaged, whether it’s an interview panel of two people or hundreds at a TED Talk.
“Ultimately by increasing your self-awareness in business situations you become more aware of the impact of both your behaviour and the behaviour of others. You can use these skills to flex your communication style according to the situation and make the first impression required. It’s amazing how small shifts in how you use your physicality and voice can affect your audience.’’
Photo: J Tucker