You only get one chance to make a first impression.
You have all heard that saying before and I’m willing to bet that most of you don’t find much insight in those words. And at first glance you would be right – but lets dive deeper and look at this statement in context of our personal brands.
If I were to ask you to think about the saying, “you only get one chance to make a first impression” and visualize it playing out between two people, many of you will form a picture in your mind of two people physically meeting for the first time.
Maybe you get a picture of two people shaking hands for the first time, or hear the small talk as they greet each other or maybe you imagine the interaction going smoothly or poorly. No matter what you see, the vast majority of you when asked to do this exercise will think in physical dimensions – you will picture two people physically meeting for the first time.
But, when taken in the context of building and promoting your personal brand you need to flip this convention on its head.
You need to think in digital dimensions.
You need to think of somebody going to their laptop, typing in a search term or your name in Google and then clicking on the first five links that appear to be related to their search.
This is the way that people meet in a digital economy.
The information that is found in those first five links is the digital first impression that others will form of you. This information and how it affects others’ views of you is what shapes the perception of your personal brand – and perception is reality.
If you think I’m losing it just go to Google and type in any keyword or name related to something you are interested in. Then spend some time going through the first five search results – if you try this out, you will find the names and related content from the individuals with the strongest personal brands for that search term.
And, if you didn’t notice; you just met someone and formed a digital first impression of them.
How many people are exposed to you digitally and ultimately end up forming their digital first impression of you? It’s hard to say how many for sure, but it is far more than the amount of people you will meet face to face in your lifetime.
This is a by-product of our digital economy — the majority of the people you meet are from your social networks or through people finding you on the web through search engines.
These changes in the way people meet have many advantages for those who have positioned themselves favorably through building their personal brands.
What are the advantages?
1.) You WILL BE FOUND online by those interested in meeting you
2.) You WILL RECEIVE unsolicited opportunities to grow your brand or career
3.) You WILL MEET more people and develop a stronger safety network
4.) You WILL ADVANCE quicker than those who do not develop a strong personal brand
5.) You WILL EARN more money and represent more perceived value by others
You only get one chance to make a first impression. I believe in that statement now more than ever because people have the ability to find you online without you agreeing to it. If you have a strong personal brand you can influence a good digital first impression. If you do not have a strong personal brand, well, you will go largely unnoticed and find doors shut where others find doors open.
If your anything like me you don’t like running into shut doors – you like them open with opportunity. If you think of it in this sense, creating your personal brand is much like having a set of keys to unlock closed doors.