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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go get it, May 14 2004
By 
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
By 
Dr. Cathy Goodwin (Philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
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?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very englightening, but easy to understand reference, March 11 2006
By 
Canadian in Cali (San Francisco, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: First Impressions: What You Don't Know About How Others See You (Paperback)
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
5.0 out of 5 stars How To Win Friends and Influence People - From the Get-Go, March 2 2004
By 
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
By 
T. A Kelley "kelleyt" (pueblo, colorado United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Gold, March 29 2004
By A Customer
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An insight into other peoples mind, March 17 2004
By 
I had always taken for a fact of human nature that I would never
get into other people's mind. Well... it's still true but
this amazing book teaches us how, we are so much all alike one another. This books truly has changed how I behave with people
(even people that already have a first impression of me) at work or socially.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Impression, March 15 2004
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. When a door opens, you have precious little time to make a good impression. This book, written by PhD psychologists, offers a remarkable amount of good, common sense advice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Develop habits for highly successful introductions, March 10 2004
By 
"bigsd87" (Washington DC USA) - See all my reviews
The suggestions and areas of focus are presented in ways that make sense in most instances of introduction. The scenarios relate to many personal experiences and has made for good discussions with my friends
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great information, intelligently packaged, March 9 2004
By 
F. Pryne (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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. There are many such "how-to" books on the market, but this one stands out for the quality of its writing and its reliance on the research literature in social psychology and interpersonal effectiveness. It reads as an intelligent, but not overly pedantic or dry guide to making the most of one's personal assets in any new situation.
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First Impressions: What You Don't Know About How Others See You
First Impressions: What You Don't Know About How Others See You by Valerie White Ph.D. (Paperback - March 29 2005)
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