First Impressions,Lasting Impressions

“You never get a second chance to make a good …” We all know the rest of that phrase. But do we fully understand its significance? Ann Demarais and Valerie White, co-authors of First Impressions: What You Don’t Know About How Others See You (Bantam; $22.95), seek to shed some light. The impression you leave from a first encounter is only a glimpse into your totality as a person, but people “will unconsciously assume that the sample is an accurate representation of the whole you,” say the authors.

Demarais and White dedicate 14 chapters across three distinct sections to spotting and sealing the fissures between self-perception and reality, particularly from others’ perspectives. Section One covers the psychology of first impressions and taking responsibility for the messages you send. Section Two investigates the “Seven Fundamentals of a First Impression,” including the interactive dynamics of conversation. Section Three focuses on developing and adjusting your first impression style. Each chapter ends with a reference list of associated positive behaviors and common communication blunders to avoid. All in all, First Impressions provides sensible advice to help you put your best foot forward every time.