Perception Business Skills
Richard Mulvey  
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Rule 1
Know what you want to be

Rule 2
Look what you want to be

Rule 3
Act what you want to be

Rule 4
Take Control

Rule 5
Be what you want to be


Some years ago I became fascinated with first impressions. I had a colleague at the time who instinctively left a good impression wherever he went. He was not a top class performer and I was always amazed that his customers would often defend his mistakes even though they were suffering from them.

I decided then that I needed to know more about first impressions. I wanted to know why they were not only important in the short term, but also leave a lasting image that is extremely difficult to change. Why is it that when the impression is finally changed, the person will feel cheated that their first impression was incorrect? Even years later I have known people fight to defend that first impression as a matter of principle, anything less being a reflection on their ability to judge a character.

I then came across the statistic that 90% of peoples opinion of you is formulated in the first four minutes of meeting you and the content of this work started to take shape. Surely, I argued, if it only takes four minutes to form a lasting impression, it must be possible to take control of those first four minutes and leave in the mind of the person you are meeting whatever impression you would like to create.

So what happens in those first four minutes that makes them so important?

Put in its simplest terms we have to categorise people when we meet them in order to know how to react. Ten thousand years ago the categories might simply have been enemy or friend. Should I attack or embrace? The answer to that question however had to be instant to avoid a catastrophe and our ability to answer the question accurately has contributed to the development of our species.

Our society and therefore our categories have become more complex, but the need to make instant judgments has stayed with us.

Our impression of anybody is gleaned from a number of different sources but is in essence the information that we absorb from our senses, (seeing, hearing smelling, etc.) compared with the information we have stored from our past experiences and what we have learned from other people.

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

Everybody has heard that first impressions are important. Everybody knows that you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. But do you know how important it is?

90% of people’s opinion of you is formulated in the first four minutes of meeting you. That's right, 90%!

The Bad News

If you blow the first four minutes you only have a 10% chance of creating the right impression.

The Good News

To create the right impression you only have to manage the first four minutes. After that you leave the rest to manage itself.

Throughout this work I will explain how to manage those four vital minutes using skills that, for the most part, you already possess, so that you are able to create whatever impression you want to create.