Thursday, September 24, 2015

Perceiving Strangers

I read an article that the Harvard Business Review posted called, "A second Chance to Make the Right Impression." The article summarizes why meeting people for the first time, be it a friend, love interest, potential boss, or new colleague, can be intimidating. I'm sure most people can agree that it can be difficult to read some people when first meeting them, and it can also be incredibly frustrating to be personally perceived the wrong way during a first encounter.

The article explains how perception works when meeting someone for the first time and how we essentially evaluate strangers in two phases. In phase one it is a quick and subconscious once-over that relies on observing physical appearance, body language etc. to fill in the blanks for things we can't possibly know in just a few minutes. Or as the author puts it, "There is too much to notice, understand and act on." This allows for incomplete, harsh, and typically irrational first opinions. In the second meeting, that is when perception goes into overdrive, using all of the senses to observe data and then organizing it, to make a more informed opinion of an individual.

As someone who almost always knows whether I will like/get along with a person or not from the first time I meet them, this article may have encouraged me to let the second meeting be the judge.

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