As a child my parents always drummed into em the importance of first impressions; always look smart, be polite, you never know who’s watching and you have to make a good impression. The Internet has changed that, and my view of the world and the people in it has changed my ideas on first impressions too.
The Internet doesn’t care what you look like, if you havn’t put your make up on or brushed your hair. It’s not bothered if you are swearing your comfy scruffs or a business suit. So why should people? As my favourite job is about changing perceptions in relation to disability and difference, does it matter what I wear or how I look? What I do is important enough and this should be enough. But as my paid job requires I wear sensible clothes to work, hiding my tattoos, not wearing a lot of jewellery and ensuring my shoes are flat and sensible (OK so some of that is based on H&S and common sense) I am still thinking about how first impressions count, even though I’ve been going to the same place and working with the same people for around 4 months. the problem is I have set a precedent now and need to keep going with it.
Last night I went to a new networking event, and yet again I followed the rules set by my parents a long time ago and wore a business suit, why? If I had worn jeans would I have been less able to meet people and talk about how training in disability awareness can increase company profits, increase the number of new customers, increase the number of returning customers or raise the company profile in the sector. Or how being able to spot hidden disabilities can provide customer facing staff with the tools to assist customers. No it would not, and yet we still continue to judge people on first appearances when we meet them in person, but we don’t when we meet them on line. I met one person at a networking even a few months ago, my first impression of the person was; loud, arrogant, know it all, it turns out that the person is loud and talks a lot, but also friendly, supportive and really helpful. So even if you do, as we all do, make a judgement based on first impressions, don’t let it be your final judgement.
Thanks for reading