Since I often talk to university students about marketing their personal brand, which I call YOU Inc, I attended this branding session at the recent FNCE meeting in the USA.  Personal branding is everything people think of when they hear your name/brand, hence their perception of you (which may or may not match your perception of you!)

Thomas Karam from Louisiana State University discussed that you have just 10 seconds to create a positive image.  70% of people will have an accurate perception of you within 10 seconds (gosh how fast is that!).  In that 10 seconds they will decide if they like and trust you or not and whether they want to work with you or not.

So what can you do to ensure that you create a positive first impression.  38% of your likeability factor is the tone of your voice; people want to hear warmth in your voice and feel like you care.  More importantly, 55% of whether someone likes you or not is based on your facial expression.  So Kharam stated it’s important to have a good “default look”.  The look you have when you don’t think anyone is watching you.

Thomas Kharam talked about how he works with millionaire student football athletes in the USA to prepare them for interviews with the media.  One day, he had a footballer who didn’t want to work with him.  He couldn’t understand why because he had never even met this person.  It turned out, that the footballer would pass him in the university hallway and Kharam would always look mean and angry, so he decided he did not like him and did not want to work with him.  Hence, the power of the “default look”.

Kharam implored us to practice our “default look” in the mirror, and not to underestimate the power of the “default look”.  For the rest of the conference, people were practicing and joking about their “default look”!

For those of you who are adding up the percentages, the remaining 7% (how small is that!) of creating a positive first impression is actually what you say.   So go on there’s no time to lose, start practising your “default look” in the bathroom mirror!

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