In business, as well as in life, presentation matters.
How we come across and present ourselves to others, informs the impression people will have of us. In fact, first impressions are known to be long lasting and they frame the context of all future interactions.
For instance, if your first impression is of someone that is shoddy and late, it will be very hard to recover from this even if your future work is immaculate and always on time. Whereas, if your first impression is one of good morals, high standards and trustworthiness people will forgive a lot in subsequent interactions as we always tend to fall back on our first impressions.
In business, we all want to make a good first impression as we are all very much aware of the lasting importance those first few minutes have when meeting a new person, or presenting to an audience or even the first impression your website makes.
Some Background Information
People have a tendency to make very quick gut instinct reactions based on the first few moments that subsequently frame the rest of their interactions, meaning, in a presentation context you only really have a few minutes at the start to grab the attention of your audience and build authority as someone that knows what they are talking about.
This gut instinct response, often referred to as a “first impression”, is scientifically proven and social scientists have been studying the importance of it for decades. The first impression is formed in the most primitive part of our brain, known as the amygdala.
The amygdala is responsible for our basic instincts and survival, it is reptilian in nature, and governs our fight or flight response to certain people and situations. This means it is there to pick up on all the nuances our conscious mind is too busy to spot. It is always operating, and is what often makes you feel like you are being watched, if someone is watching you, even if you can’t see anybody watching you through your own eyes.
The primitive defence mechanism found within the amygdala basically calculates a multitude of tiny details about a person, taking them all in, in order to compute who that person is and what they are about. This is particularly acute in people within the military, police and martial artists… yet, on a day to day basis, our amygdala isn’t helping us fight for our lives, often it is assessing the authenticity of a person, whether we should listen to them, trust them, or if they pose a threat to wasting our time.
Essentially, it scans details that are so minute, that our conscious mind doesn’t have the available space to process, and runs in the background to compute a gut instinct response which serves us in a similar way to how credit card companies use a credit score to assess risk.
What Can You Do To Improve?
This is the powerful impact first impressions have on us, and why presentation matters so much. We are all slaves to our first impressions, whether we like it or not, and we are also being judged by the first impressions people make about us.
Today, there is no shortage of good ideas, products, services, content or people. Infact, the internet has made everything so accessible we are so overloaded with options. This means that for a lot of the time, people are very guarded as to what they let into their conscious awareness due to feeling so bombarded the whole time.
This is why packaging up what you offer and presenting it in a relevant way that creates value to the recipient is so important. This is what will cut through the crowds and the clutter and what helps you to become relevant to a person. You need to first attract their attention, and then engage them through a value proposition of some sort or other.
The best way to achieve this is to meet a particular need the person has, in some ways we could liken this to scratching an itch, relieving a pain, or bringing joy they have been longing for.
That said, just because you have a fantastic product or service that meets the needs of your audience, it doesn’t mean you will have tons of customers. The first step is creating awareness, and the second step is creating engagement, to the extent the person interacts with you, your company or your product long enough to attach a feeling of relevance to it. They need to see for themselves that this does indeed meet a particular need.
Given the amount of barriers people have up, this can be a challenging task, particularly in a crowded marketplace. This is where presentation comes in. You can have the most ideal solution in the world, but if you don’t package it in a way that demonstrates how it meets the needs of your target market, they simply won’t bite.
Packaging in this context, therefore, extends beyond stationary such as printed cardboard boxes and is more aligned with how you position what you offer the world in terms of the marketing angle you take. The ideal place for this is on your website.
In a nutshell, the way you present yourself and your business really matters. In fact, some could say it might matter more how you present what you do than what you actually do, as you can be the best supplier of a particular product or service, but unless you position yourself in a way that is aligned with market needs you will always struggle.
As an example let’s look at book publishers. With book publishing, one of the editor’s main jobs is to ensure the author has a compelling blurb that sells the book from the back cover and the illustrator needs to create a compelling image on the front cover. You could have written the most interesting book in the world, but unless you package the book with an interesting cover and captivating blurb it will be very hard to sell.
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That is not to say you can be all style without substance, as this is not a sustainable business model, but it is important not to underestimate the importance of presentation and packing up what you do in a way that is aligned with market needs and the needs of your potential customers.
I hope this post has been helpful and given you some food for thought as to how you present both yourself and your business. If you have please give it a share on your favourite social media platform.
As ever if you have any questions or just want to share your thoughts or experiences please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.