Should you trust your first impression?

I was recently sent a YouTube video link titled Should You Trust Your First Impression? The video has two messages:

  1. A bad first impression is difficult to overcome. People tend to stick with the negative bias about someone despite subsequent attempts at remedial action.
  2. However if someone is perceived as being exceptionally competent in area (say a goal scoring machine like Ronaldo) then this person is perceived as being competent in other areas. People then see a positive aura about the person and bad actions tend to be overlooked.

In other words our initial analysis of people is easily biased.

One of the key steps in lifting your emotional intelligence is developing empathy. My Chinese partner, Michael Chen of Zest Learning , recently was in Sydney on holiday with his family. He has now given a number of my Emotional Intelligence courses in Selling and Management to a number of multinational companies in China. He tells me that the easily the most popular part of course is the development of empathy using the TOPDOG acronym. TOPDOG stands for Talk-Organisation-Position-Dress-Office-Gambit and you can read about how it works in these two blogs:

Emotional Intelligence – Stage 3 Social Awareness (Part 1)

Emotional Intelligence – Stage 3 Social Awareness (Part 2)

So now a salesperson who is making first call can use the TOPDOG technique to work out what are the two or three dominant core emotional drives of a prospect and dramatically increase the chances of selling success. However the question then arises is whether the salesperson’s guesses are correct? Michael has worked out a cunning technique to answer this question.

It is possible to do on my website a simple quiz to establish your dominant components. It takes less than five minutes and consists choosing between 21 pairs – if you want to do the quiz go here.

What Michael has done is translate the quiz into a Humm mobile phone app. Once the salesperson has guessed what he thinks are the core components of a prospect he then hands the prospect a mobile phone containing the app and asks the prospect to complete the quiz. Within seconds the app comes back with the prospect’s dominant component components according to his or her subjective answers. It is not perfect but it does give immediate feed back to the salesperson whether is guess is right and if not what may be the other components in the prospect’s personality.

According to Michael the TOPDOG/Humm Mobile Phone App is a most powerful tool for teaching someone empathy and overcoming what would otherwise be biased first impressions.


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Chris Golis - Author


"Put in a sales perspective, I loved your presentation! I got a lot from what you talked about and I will read your book."

Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

- made me think.

Christi Spring CEO Institute. - web