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First Impressions: What You Don't Know About How Others See You [Paperback]

Ann Demarais Ph.D. , Valerie White Ph.D.
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 29 2005
What kind of first impression do you make? A first impression is the most important impression you’ll ever make—and you get only one chance to make it. Business deals can be made or broken, first dates become second dates or not, friendships are created or fail to form; everything hinges on that all-important initial encounter. And yet most of us don’t know how we’re really seen by others. Many of us don’t know how to make a good impression.

Wouldn’t you like others to see you as confident, interesting, attractive, and sincere? Ann Demarais, Ph.D., and Valerie White, Ph.D., consultants to many Fortune 100 companies as well as creators of First Impressions, Inc., a New York–based dating and consulting firm, offer you the keys to putting your best self forward in any new situation, whether you want to strike up a conversation at a party or are meeting a blind date or a new business client.

You’ll learn to see yourself as others see you, and how to tweak your style to create the impression that reflects the real you. Breaking down a successful first impression into its seven fundamentals, the authors show you how to master these principles so that you can make the best first impression. They also show how to avoid common misunderstandings that leave others with a bad impression, how to reveal the four universal social gifts, and they outline practical steps you can take to enhance your personal charm.

Informative and filled with enlightening research studies, do-it-yourself checklist reviews, and dozens of helpful case histories, First Impressions is a fun, groundbreaking, and long-overdue guide to the most important moment of virtually any relationship: the first.

From the Hardcover edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

The authors, both psychologists, run a New York–based business that coaches professionals on how they present themselves in business contexts and singles on how they appear during staged dates. In breezy helpful style, this book helps readers identify gaps between self-perception and actual effect. The secret to a good first impression, the authors argue, is "social generosity," carefully helping others feel good about themselves, whether through "appreciation," "connection," "elevation" (good spirits) or "enlightenment" (new information). Each chapter covers one of "Seven Fundamentals of a First Impression" (including the need for self-disclosure and for fluency in conversational dynamics); each ends with a checklist of "positive topic behaviors" and "common miscommunications" (e.g., if you focus on one topic, you may think you're passionate but you come off as self-absorbed). While some insights are basic (eye contact as an indication of interest), the authors thoroughly dissect interactions that are eminently flubbable. For example, the most common violation of "talking with" is "talking at," which can include lecturing, storytelling, sermonizing and telling jokes. The insights presented here are based not just on the authors' experience as consultants but also on the psychological literature: getting in sync with a partner, the research shows, requires coordinated smiling, gesturing and a mutual attentive gaze. The secret to sex appeal? Androgynous characteristics matched with confidence and warmth. This highly practical book ends with suggestions on how to tweak your style, including asking friends for feedback and consciously charting behaviors. To their credit, the authors remind newly enlightened readers of the importance of cutting others slack: somewhat annoying behavior may stem from good intentions.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–From friendships to business relationships, first impressions can have a huge personal, emotional, and financial impact on one's life. This book is a review of the scientific literature on how one is perceived by others during the first few minutes of social interaction. The authors summarize the current literature and place it into charts, allowing readers to easily determine the most appropriate strategy for making a good first impression. The material is interesting and flows well. The book is content rich with information that could be used daily by teens as they begin to establish mature personal and professional relationships.–John Kiefman, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go get it May 14 2004
Being a cynic and a successful business man I had some reservations about this genre of books but this one is exceptionally well written and I read it cover to cover in just a few hours. So if the book only contained a single good idea it would be worth reading. The thing is: This little gem contains more good ideas than I can count, so it is definitely worth the time and money!
"First impressions" is great not because it contains useful advice but also because it makes me think about the way I interact with clients and that alone is useful.
Great book, highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The science of first dates June 4 2004
DeMarais and White have managed to find an untouched corner of the self-help world -- and a valuable one at that. As they point out, research shows that first impressions last a long time. And as we meet people, we create first impressions on dates, business meetings and job interviews.
Writing in accessible self-help style, the authors identify the "seven fundamentals of first impressions." These seven chapters make up the meat of the book. The authors discuss specific ways to show interest: body language, eye contact, name usage.
For instance, the chapter "Enough about me" encourages readers to show interest in their conversational partners.
The authors hold our interest -- and communicate effectively -- with examples and dialogues. Some of the advice seems fairly obvious (maintain eye contact, avoid closed-end questions) but much is new and useful (live vs. faux listening).
At the end of each chapter, the author not only list positive behaviors (e.g., make eye contact) but also show what each behavior communicates (e.g., "interested, socially aware"). They then list miscommunication behaviors in a clever chart form: "If you do this ("listen inactively") you may think you seem ... (neutral) but you may seem ... (uninterested).
I found the "you may think you seem" a little off-putting. Maybe we engage in these behaviors automatically without realizing how we seem! Or maybe these behaviors demonstrate an aspect of our personality.
However, that's a small quibble, easy to ignore.
The section on topics was one of the fun ones, although perhaps useful only in a social, i.e., dating, context. Don't go too deep into your own favorite topic, they say. Put some topics on the table and keep going.
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I found this book to be an interesting and effective guide to first impressions. While much of the content may seem obvious (like smiling when you meet someone), the book does a great job pointing out how many of the these seemingly apparent traits and behaviours--and some that are not so apparent--intertwine to create a first impression.
By no means will this book allow you to create a first impression with everyone you meet, but it will definately increase the odds. In addition, I found it makes first impressions a lot less nerve-wracking; after reading the book not only did I understand some of the things I could do to make a better first impression, but also came to understand some of the things other people do to make them difficult and what I can do to make them more positive (or at least identify when I should cut my losses).
While the book is no pancea for positive social interaction, based on the combination of simple psychological concepts, real-life examples and good presentation, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand (and improve) the first impressions he or she makes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By David
This is the most practical and thorough book I've ever read about the crucial first encounter with a person. The only other book on the subject of relationships that I got as much out of is Dale Carnegie's "How To Win Friends and Influence People". But "First Impressions" is about getting off on the right foot, and it does a great job of explaining just how to do it.
It seems that a ton of books pay lip service as to WHY the first impression is so important. But then none of them go on for more than a page or two to explain WHAT to do about it. Have you ever read a REALLY GOOD analysis of what's happening during that first conversation? I hadn't -- not until I read this book.
I bought this book because I wanted to improve my "meeting people" skills. I found that the book applied to business encounters, dating, interviewing, and virtually any time I want to make a good impression with someone I'm meeting for the first time.
I don't have a high opinion of many self-help books because too often they turn out to be only simplistic, common-sense anecdotes. But this book is different. It is a thorough, readable, practical guide about how to successfully begin a social or business relationship, and I whole-heartedly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Abosolutely a must read June 9 2004
No matter what your lot in life is if you want to hold your end in a conversation you need to read this book.Whether your at a party and having casual talk, having a business meeting or a first date even if you think you are a great talker this will help.
The book shows how to start a conversation all the way to the end it shows how body langauge affects peoples view of you along with other aspects and how they affect your conversation everything as the flow the topics you talk about and even how sex appeal has bearing on it.
At the end of each chapter there is a checklist that you can fill out to see what areas you may need to work on.
These methods seem pretty sensible and must work as the two ladies who have written this book have a consulating business observing people and how they handle conservation.This will be one of those books that you will keep handy on your bookshelf and refer back to again and again. I definitely recommend this book
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Gold
This book should be sold with a lock and key. It is a treasure trove of invaluable information - of a sort your friends will never provide, and of a sort that will revolutionize... Read more
Published on March 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars An insight into other peoples mind
I had always taken for a fact of human nature that I would never
get into other people's mind. Well... Read more
Published on March 17 2004 by Roch Bourbonnais
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Impression
If you wish to make new friendships, find a soul mate, get a sales commission or accomplish a one-night stand, you must knock on many doors. Read more
Published on March 15 2004 by Richard W Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars Develop habits for highly successful introductions
The suggestions and areas of focus are presented in ways that make sense in most instances of introduction. Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by "bigsd87"
5.0 out of 5 stars Great information, intelligently packaged
I am a psychologist and business coach and I found this book right on the mark: it gives excellent, practical advice for making a positive first impression. Read more
Published on March 9 2004 by F. Pryne
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting reading
We all know numerous friends this would be great for, and I also found concrete ideas that I will be using in my own personal behavior. Read more
Published on March 8 2004 by Renee Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars This Excellent Book Makes it Easy !!!!
First Impressions is an excellent work on the subtleties of interpersonal interaction. It spells out in clear detail just what kind of behaviors will improve one's image as well... Read more
Published on March 7 2004 by F. Adams
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