How to change a negative first impression

Negative first impressions stick – unless you take action

Negative first impressions stick – unless you take action

Embarrassment is high when you ‘put your foot in it’ and gaffe socially with someone you have just met. Perhaps you forgot their name having been just introduced. Do you feel this will leave a lasting negative impression?

You can put things right. Recent research**shows that an initial negative impression and judgement can be changed. However, the researchers found that this needed a positive and active rethink of deeply held initial negative emotions and judgments. Participants on the receiving end had to concentrate with no distraction. Then they were able to reinterpret a gaffe and consider the motives of the other person. In so doing, they often achieved a positive shift that reversed their initial impression.

1 thing you can do if you gaffe:

If you yourself have – ‘put your foot in it‘ and, gaffed – then be honest. You may say something like “I was really nervous about meeting you…” or “you caught me at a bad time…”. Most people will relate to your honesty.

1 thing you can do for the person who gaffes:

The next time someone ’puts their foot in it’ with you consider what other possibilities may lie beneath their behaviour. The research showed the importance of understanding motives and addressing a social gaffe. Was the person really nervous or very shy? Was the person who slammed past you in the car park rushing to an ill relative?

*Mann, T., & Ferguson, M. (2015). Can We Undo Our First Impressions? The Role of Reinterpretation in Reversing Implicit Evaluations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology DOI:10.1037/pspa0000021

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Reach us at 07779 345 499, m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

Marjorie Raymond

Marjorie Raymond

T: 07779 345 499

E: m.raymond@mwrconsulting.co.uk

We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.

Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:

  • Certified ACT practioner
  • Support if you are being bullied, or have a member of your organisation who has made a bullying complaint
  • Certified Mediation practioner, to address workplace conflict,
  • Personal development activities
  • Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
  • Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
  • Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
  • Straight Talking: …Straight Talking create change through conversations
  • Special projects, secondments and assignments