le 2 mars 2004
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.
le 18 décembre 2015
The information in this book sticks. I find myself in social situations that are a bit awkward and something from the book will come to mind, and I'll use it successfully to smooth the interaction. I'll be honest, I didn't put a ton of effort into "mastering" the skills. I'm an introvert, so I've spent a lot of time working on my social skills, and I read this book to find out what mistakes I might be making and where I could use improvement. Like I said, even without a lot of dedication, the information sticks, which is testament to the value of the book. I recommend it for anyone wanting to improve their people skills and check for things they might be doing wrong.
The book can be a little dry at times, but that's not unusual for self-help, which isn't always fun but is usually helpful. Many of the examples are very real-world and familiar to almost anyone, which makes it really easy to understand the points. I read the book a chapter at a time rather than trying to devour it all at once, which gave me more time to absorb the information. This was especially helpful since I wasn't deliberately practicing - it allowed time for little ah ha moments to crop up naturally and give me an opportunity to try out the techniques in the book. And the techniques work. I found that the book illustrated a lot of good points without a lot of fluff. Just good, practical advice on how to make your life easier in the social sphere.
le 11 mars 2006
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.
le 7 mars 2004
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 as some things to avoid. Some of this may seem obvious, but if you think about your daily interactions with people, you come across some of the no-no's with too much regularity. It is a great refresher for some of the things we all should know but often neglect. The world would be a much better place if everyone read this book. Not only do the authors show real-life examples from their business experience, but they back up their suggestions with ample scientific evidence to support their approach.
It has already helped me extensively at work as well as at home. These simple techniques also work extremely well with children for getting them to pay attention and cooperate. To call this a dating guide would be completely unfair. There are general things here for all.
le 4 juin 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.
I must say I love talking to people about their specialties. That's the writer/journalist in me! The authors describe "Ray," who delivered a monologue on washing machines, to his bored seatmate on an airplane flight. They suggest saying, "That's interesting. I don't know much about washing machines, but I do know about film..."
I must admit I'd have interrogated the poor man about his field, hoping to learn something to help with my own laundry day. I once sat next to a veterinarian on a long, dreary plane ride, and learned a lot of useful information about cats. Now that I have a dog...
I resonated to the 4 "wrong" styles of conversation: story telling, lecturing, sermonizing and telling jokes. I do all of those, though hopefully not on a first meeting!
The authors offer some tips for corrective action, which can be summed up as enhanced self-awareness. However, their strengths lie not in making change, but in identifying varieties of violations.
Although the authors briefly discuss "heavy" topics, they might have gone more deeply into reasons for varying degrees of disclosure. For instance, most people ask casually, "Do you have children? Brothers and sisters?" All seemingly innocent questions -- but I know someone whose only daughter died, someone whose father disappeared and others who have legitimate reasons for avoiding those topics. We could use some tips for maintaining a relationship along with our privacy.
Additionally, as a career coach, I wish the authors had discussed culture and gender differences that can create misunderstanding -- the material Deborah Tannen handles so well. They do include informative research highlights but I'd have liked to see more detailed suggestions in the main text. For instance, in many subcultures, men are given more leeway to talk about themselves and to use a lecturing style.
And, as Tannen says, a New Yorker interrupts while a southerner (especially a southern woman) will be trained to be more polite and reticent. When you're meeting a new person in a new field, company, or region, you need to pick up cues to clarify what's considered appropriate behavior.
Finally, the authors could have used their corporate business experience to identify unique elements of business and career first impressions. Certain behaviors create good first impressions during job interviews, sales meetings and first days on the job.
The last two chapters were extremely valuable and could have been expanded: How to overcome a bad first impression and How to cut others some slack, so you won't let a bad first impression deny you a relationship. I'd have liked to see an additional chapter on the second, third and fourth meetings, which often can be trickier than the first. By setting up a second meeting (especially in a dating context) you've indicated a willingness to proceed. Now what?
le 29 mars 2004
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 your business, personal, and especially romantic relationships. A clear understanding of how you are perceived by others is a most valuable coin in the commerce of love.