Make That First Impression Last Longer Than the Blink of an Eye

From as far back as I can remember, I recall being told the importance of a first impression.  Back then, it was about being respectful to new teammates and portraying good sportsmanship to opposing teams.  As I grew older, and high school came around, it was the first impression you had on teachers and new classmates which firstwould affect how you were viewed in school.  Now, as I make my way through college at Bryant University and get ready to make it out in the business world, I find that first impressions have become immensely more important.  Whether it is new professors, networking events and career fairs or interviews, a first impression can go a long way.  The phenomenon of a first impression and the factors involved are so interesting in how they can manipulate someone’s outlook on you.  Even more intriguing is how one person’s view from a first impression of you could be entirely different from someone else’s first impression of you.  Making a good first impression on someone not only has profound benefits on your personal life, but is also beneficial in building your career.

As a student studying the field of Human Resource Management, I wanted to tailor my learning experience to tie together and help me understand HR even more.  To do so, I chose to double minor in Communications and Psychology, which I have found to be immensely beneficial in learning how people think and work   According to a 2014 study at the University of York, impressions of a person’s approachability and dominance can be made within the first 100 milliseconds.  Before you even have a chance to speak, the person you are meeting has already had the chance to analyze your posture and how you carry yourself, your facial expressions and how you are dressed at 6e842fbcd86c233bc4d17c5b27cefa99the time they are meeting you.  First impressions are quickly formed and long lasting, the longer amount of time for the first impression, the more confident and stable the impression will be.  An interviewer can have made their mind up within two seconds of seeing someone as to whether or not they want to hire them, possibly excelling their career forward or becoming another road block in the way.  What first impressions come down to can be instinctual and alter our outlook on people instantaneously and that is what makes them so important.  What is so interesting about these situations is that they are highly dependent on the various factors that could skew the accuracy of the impression.  Some factors include age, gender, physical appearance, posture, voice, number of people present, and time allowed to process.  These factors are deemed especially important within the business world especially when trying to find a job.

With a combination of learning Communications, Psychology and HR at school, I am also discovering more and more things about first impressions during my time here at MSI.  Learning the breakdown of a first impression has opened my eyes to be more aware of how I present myself in a first impression situation.  It is said that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have.  This is directly related to establishing the first impression on your interviewer because even before you speak they will analyze you.  Non-verbal cues such as level of eye contact and firmness of the handshake upon greeting someone will be taken into consideration as well.  Posture and tone of voice during an interview are absolutely key, they depict the level of interest one may have for the interview/job.  Understanding tone of voice is important in a first impression because it will either enhance or diminish the impression someone has made already.  In addition to these non-verbal cues, researching the firstimpression_aloneorganization and interviewer beforehand, having prepared questions and portraying confidence can all go a long way in a first impression by showing the interviewer you care about this opportunity and will go the extra mile.  These extra things can help mend a sour first impression or just add onto an already positive outlook.
Being aware of these factors that come into play is so helpful, because it allows you to be able to control them and use them in your favor.

 

First impressions will always be important and will occur constantly throughout our lives, so what kind of first impression will you make?  Being able to understand
what is in a first impression can have countless benefits whether seen or unseen.  Whether you are going into an interview or one day will be conducting interviews, it is
important to be able to decipher and analyze people’s non-verbal cues in order to get the best impression you can on them.  Knowing these factors and the importance of a first impression will get you far, because you don’t want your first impression to be the only impression you make.

Alex Madoian

Bryant 2017

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4th and Goal With the Game on the Line: Will They Turn to YOU?

For the last 16 years of my life I haven’t experienced a fall without football.  With the end of my career in sight, and the New York Giants not knocking on my door, it is time for me to look back at what lessons and valuable tools this incredible game has taught me over time.  I believe football has shaped me to become who I am today and that I am better because of it.  The memories of incredible games and grueling practices will always be there, but it is the lessons and skills I learned that will stick with me for a lifetime.e1607536d7b86ef30acf6d74ef0e5be6  The skills and lessons that I found most prevalent in my years of football were in leadership.  Leadership, is something many people are naturally born with and it may come easy to them.  Now, there is a difference between a leader and a manager, but both need to be efficient and effective with their leadership skills.  I believe in some ways that I am a natural born leader, but football helped me to open my eyes as to what true leadership is about and what it takes to be a great leader.  Now you may ask, if I’ve never played football how does this relate to me?  Well, it is the principles of leadership and management in football that anyone and everyone can understand in the business world and that I took away from my experiences in the game.

As a Human Resources Management major, I strive to learn all that I can about leadership and team building and I believe that all managers should educate themselves as to what it takes to be a great leader.  One major connection between leadership and football, is that in order for you and the others around you to grow, you must be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  This is pushing yourself beyond your limits and breaking out of your comfort zone.  As a leader, helping your employees push past their comfort zone not only helps them to grow but can also propel your business forward.  A team that has shared adversity and can feel comfortable being uncomfortable together is a team that cannot be beat.  They have a stronger connection with each other due to the pressures they have faced together.  Taking that principle into the business world can only mean success in an extremely competitive global market.

Change-Leadership  I have found throughout my football life that talent is very valuable, the best players play and often help the team succeed to a certain extent.  While talent is needed to a degree, it is great leadership and teamwork that enable reliable performances at the highest level possible.  I have been on teams with one or two outstanding players but have lost every game; this goes to show that without a well led cohesive unit, great things cannot be accomplished.   Those individuals who can bring a team together while focusing on their employees best interests as well as the interests of their organizations will achieve a championship season.

The last lesson that I will surely take away with me after I leave football is one that I wish I knew a long time ago.  You don’t rise to the occasion, you fall back on your training.  As a great leader, one should help their employees to follow and understand such a motto because of what it does for their own personal performance.  When crunch time comes, and someone is on the big stage, (whatever it may be), they will not just suddenly be prepared, it is what they have been taught by their leader and how they have prepared that will make them successful.

6618fa80d350ebe3090faea447d04553By helping employees break past their comfort zone and showing them that you care for their personal growth, you will encourage them to want to work harder.  A strong team can accomplish anything they put their mind to if they are led by someone who knows how to maximize the talent that they have by pushing the team past their comfort zone and excelling them forward.  What will you do to become the most effective leader possible?  I know that when I do eventually lead that I will use the lessons and skills I have learned throughout my football career to most effectively bring my team to the next level.  Managers and leaders can be found everywhere, but great and effective leaders come scarce.

 

Alex Madoian

Bryant University Class of 2017

 

Finding the Bigger Picture: The Value of Critical Thinking and Strategy

Making moves

                       Making moves

I’ve been told I’m not a good critical thinker. Back in Mrs. Gardener’s colorful 5th grade class we had “critical thinking assessments” of different selections of history each week. Week by week I would receive the same unsatisfactory marks on my paper including a big red circle with the text “MORE?” What more could I say about Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves? Back then I couldn’t see further than that, I didn’t understand the gritty implications that the Emancipation Proclamation had on America for years to come. I’m not saying I should have been a history buff by age 10, this is just an example of how I was not going deep enough with critical thinking. I was missing the final, most important component to critical thinking, the connection. Understanding the events of a situation, the facts and figures, the smallest details is meaningless if you do not realize the consequences and apply them to real scenarios. This crucial last step of critical thinking paves the way for strategy – solving problems, finding alternative solutions, overcoming challenges and reaching goals that were thought to be insurmountable, and achieving lasting success in any endeavor.

Working the gears

                  Working the gears

Critical thinking is the soil and strategy is the seed, you can’t benefit from the fruits of success without either. Strategy can be implemented towards all aspects of life, it lets us learn and grow as individuals and it drives the interconnected realm of business. The ability to deconstruct a situation, process, event in history, whatever it may be, into separate parts to discover how the whole comes together is necessary to fully grasp the infinite value of the bigger picture. This produces a moment of clarity, an “ah-ha!” moment where it all comes together, an awesome moment where all the effort from digging and analyzing and struggling finally pays off. Putting the pieces together doesn’t require formal use of critical thinking or strategy, but they certainly improve the process. The greatest aspect of the bigger picture is that it can mean anything to anyone; the moment can come at any time or place because it is the       result of learning and making progress.

Putting the pieces together

Putting the pieces together

From an individual standpoint, critical thinking means using open-mindedness to seek new outlets of understanding while strategy means the effective use of time and resources to meet personal potential. Many people live their lives never seeing or knowing their full potential, I challenge you to not be one of those people. You don’t have to be an expert to use critical thinking and strategy, you just need the desire to see further and the knowledge will follow. Never stop learning and experiencing, live your life looking for that deeper connection and find your own bigger picture.

I’d like to acknowledge Chris Ratcliffe for the inspiration to write this post.

-Cullen Crowley, Bryant University Class of 2015

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