Yakima County Development Association - At a Glance - First Impressions Make or Break You

Jean Brown

Article by:
Jean Brown

Jean publishes a blog called the Enterprise Corner.  It features articles on entrepreneurship, local industry trends, manufacturing news and periodic ‘toolbox’ articles showcasing assistance, incentives and other resources for local businesses.



At a Glance - First Impressions Make or Break You

March 15, 2013

We've all heard that you only get one chance to make a good first impression.  What if you only have ONE second to make that impression?  One second, really?  I just sat in on a website development webinar and the instructor said it can take a visitor as little as one second to determine if a visitor will stay on your site.  Yikes!  I also just finished an article on presenting and communicating and it noted that first impressions are created in seven seconds.  One or seven, either way, that is not much time to make a good impression.  Right or not, I've found that if I click on a website and don't like the way it's laid out, I will look at another one.  Same goes with a handshake.  Have you ever met someone with a really wimpy handshake or that couldn't articulate their point and made a decision on what kind of business person he or she would be just based that?  Guilty as charged. Whether it is developing your website, your business cards, how you walk into a room or how you introduce yourself and talk about your business, it goes to show that it is more important now than ever that you practice what message you want to send and the type of impression you want to make.  In all our business development classes we stress how important networking is, but maybe we need to place more emphasis on making a good first impression in other areas like websites and printed materials.  Honestly two big turn-offs for me to do business with someone or evaluate their professionalism are spelling and grammatical errors and a non-professional email address.  You may think that a funny email address shows your sense of humor, but personally I'm not amused by 'lusciousbooty' or 'bigstud' @email.com.  Disclaimer:  these emails have been changed to protect the guilty! Now, here's another example of how spoiled we've become with instant information and having seconds to make a first impression.  I wanted to provide a link to the article in the magazine I received on communication behaviors and when I visited the company website, was extremely disappointed that they did not have the issue that has gone out in the mail available on their site.  I was on the website all of about five seconds where if they had the current issue, I probably would have spent a good 15 minutes looking at different articles. Have any good (or bad) first impression stories?  Please share if you do - we can all learn from others' successes and areas of improvement.  

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"The [Enterprise Challenge] business plan contest was really a kick start. I think the best part of the contest was that you could look at your dream and turn it into a real business." - Carol VanEvenhoven, Co-Owner, Hop Central Brewing Company