First Impressions Are Overrated


Everyone knows the saying: ‘‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’’.

First impressions matter, yes.

Especially in situations where the continuation of the situation depends upon that very first interaction.

Say, you’re cold calling for business…

How long have you got before the other side realizes you’re cold calling and wants to hang up?

Research (from hostage negotiation) shows it’s about 7 seconds before people have formed an opinion.

However, in many cases, the last impression is much more important because that’s what we remember.

A lovely stay at a hotel can be completely ruined by a rude staff member upon checking out.

Or an amazing movie that we were loving can be completely demolished by what we perceive as a shit ending.

But perhaps more surprising is that the opposite is true as well.

Founder of behavioral economics and Nobel Prize winning Professor Daniel Kahneman has found that an objectively, overall less painful, and short colonoscopy can be perceived as worse, provided the ending was particularly painful than an objectively more painful and a longer one.

Which he talks about here:

The correlation of this surprising new-found knowledge is that you can make the experience of an objectively bad colonoscopy significantly better by making it longer but making sure that those lost few minutes hurt significantly less, thus influencing how the overall experience is remembered.

Think about how counterintuitive that is… You’re basically adding to net total pain.

This might be surprising to a student of logic, but for those of you who’ve been following Youngling & Feynman for a while, I hope this disconnect between reason and reality comes as less of a surprise.

To wrap up today’s essay: here’s a challenge I want you to try in your business:

Starting Monday try having a disproportional focus on the last moments of the interactions with your clients, making sure that they remember you in the most positive light, just until Friday and report back to me on Twitter, Whatsapp or whatever platform is most comfortable for you.

A little alchemy can go a long way.

Have an awesome Saturday my friends!

RJ Youngling