If we lived in a different world, people would judge us on our experience, hard work, loyalty. Research has proven the reality to be that we are placed in “categories” within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone. Instinctively we assess, best guess and visually undress each other in this short time. If you are not able to present yourself fast and powerfully you will be overlooked
We are all aware of how important creating a Powerful First Impression is. What can you do if you didn’t get it quite right? Do we get a second chance? What do you do if you mess up? Mistakes do happen to the best of us. It doesn’t matter if the error was small or monumental. How are you going to fix it?
Unsure what to give an employee, colleague or friend for Christmas? One of the most lasting and treasured gifts would be an individual colour analysis from Professional Impressions. We make it easy and even come to your office or home!
Negative Impressions
Common Turnoffs to Avoid ...
  • Fumbling with paperwork
  • Looking up at clock, checking watch continuously
  • Fiddling with jewellery
  • Clicking your pen repeatedly
  • Examining or playing with your hair
  • Chewing gum – makes you appear as if you don’t take things seriously
  • Eating at your desk, whilst you are walking, during a meeting
  • Yawning, moaning, whistling
  • Shouting, laughing loudly in open plan environment
  • Cuddly toys, amusing slogans, pictures around your work area
  • Dirty nails, bad breath, body odour
  • Complaining about a hangover
  • Telling racist, sexist jokes
  • Chewing fingernails, cracking knuckles
  • Conversing in front of others in a language not understood by them
How to recover
and land back on your feet
Oh no it’s happened! You’ve messed up at work or despite your best efforts you’ve made a terrible impression. Don’t despair you are more often than not judged on how you recover than on your initial mistake
Here are damage control strategies which will allow you to show your face in the office again and possibly end up looking better than you did to begin with.
The Costly / Career Limiting Mistake
  • Correcting the situation takes priority. Forget saving face here. Do whatever it takes to fix what has occurred.
  • Apologise to all concerned. Keep the apology short and sincere
  • Highlight how you have corrected the situation, as well as procedures you have put into place to avoid a repeat
  • NEVER try passing the buck as you stand to alienate your fellow colleagues and serve only to label yourself as untrustworthy
  • DON’T make a joke of the situation as this gives the impression that you don’t really care that you have messed up
  • Move on, rehashing the episode keeps your mistake upper most in the minds of others and damages your reputation further
Goodbye First Impression
It happens to us all, e.g. you try too hard and come across as gushy or aggressive; you forget your bosses name when introducing a new colleague. You are convinced you have made a bad first impression. People’s first assumptions or gut reactions to you taints how they see you from then on and will flavour all further interactions they have with you. It may take some time to overcome their preconceptions, but you can help matters along...
Reflect on the interaction
Are you happy that you were reflecting the real you? If the answer is yes, it might just be a bad personality fit and possibly you may never choose to form a connection with this person. Remember it is impossible to please or be liked by everyone.
“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open”
– Shakti Gawain
Correcting a Negative Impression
The Direct Approach – Pre–empting a Bad Impression
Some situations may make you feel uncomfortable eg meeting new people or giving a presentation. Identifying these helps prepare you for them. Perhaps warning the person you are dealing with “Please excuse me I get a little tongue tied when meeting new people” will certainly ease your and their discomfort
Stopping the negative in its tracks
  • If you feel the situation is going off course or that the interaction is not going well, back off and try and get things back on track.
  • Focusing on what the other person thinks and feels is often the way to deal with this e.g. use more “you” words rather than “I” or “me” eg “How do YOU view the situation?”
  • Make sure that your body language is in sync with your message, use open gestures, make good eye contact, nod and lean towards the person
The Post Impression Bandage
  • If there was no specific reason why the interaction didn’t go well a general “My apologies our first meeting didn’t go smoothly” Be honest.
  • People are often very forgiving when you show awareness of your impact on them This approach only works if you follow through and deliver on your promises
The Indirect Approach
Time is a great healer and as long as your subsequent behaviour and interactions are positive you may be able to outweigh your original negative impression. This however does imply that you will have enough opportunities to change the initial impression. Showing respect and paying a little extra attention as long as it is sincere, will go along way in remedying a painful situation
Learning from the experience and being more self–aware is vital in preventing you from making a negative first impression blunder again. Try not to make the same mistake again!
To guarantee that your first impressions is a memorable and lasting one contact us

Tel: (011) 679–3036    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–imp@webmail.co.za
Colour Crazy
With so many dazzling colours in the stores at the moment how do you choose what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear it? Here are some useful tips and guidelines to ensure that you look stylish, chic and appropriate in this seasons brights
Lime green, bright oranges, dazzling turquoise wherever you look. You will be bedazzled by colour. This a welcome change from the soft pastels of past summers and the subdued winter hues. However there is a real danger of looking like a Las Vegas neon billboard if taken to extremes
How to wear this seasons brights stylishly ...
Colours like neon orange, lime green and bright yellow have a tendency to overpower the wearer; the colour appears to wear YOU rather than you the colour.
If you are not sure if the colour suits you:
  • Don’t wear it too close to your face
  • Wear it in combination with a neutral colour or another hue that does suit you
  • Try a softer more pastel version of that colour which could be more flattering
  • Book a colour consultation to ensure that you always make colour choices that will complement you the best
Make this seasons colours work for you, find out how you can wear the brights.

Contact us for information regarding our Colour Intelligence Consultations.

Tel: (011) 679–3036    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–imp@webmail.co.za

On the cat walks and in the fashion magazines you will see unexpected and often clashing pairings of colour e.g. fuchsia, lime, orange. These can look sensational if combined correctly and worn for the right occasion.
In the workplace too much or too bright a colour can be both distracting and lacking in professionalism.
For work our suggestions are:
  • Anchor strong colour with the use of neutrals. Black and white are key neutrals for the season. They always look stylish, expensive but credible
  • Use a single colour and ensure that the outfit is simple, tailored rather than too flowing and limit the use of prints for maximum impact
  • Use softer versions of the acid brights – lemon yellow instead of sunflower yellow, mint instead of lime green
  • Introduce a splash of colour in the form of a blouse, necklace, scarf , jewellery or shoe
  • Men can introduce colour in their shirt and tie combinations – going all the way e.g. orange shirt with orange and lime green tie or picking up the colour in a discreet check or stripe in the shirt, or a small quantity in the tie
For your casual look ...
Mix, match and play with the whole palette available to you however keep this in mind:
  • Colours that share similar undertones will have a natural harmony and will work well together e.g. fuchsia and aqua (blue undertone) lime green and peach (yellow undertone)

You are getting dressed in the morning and you just feel the urge to wear one specific colour – why? Colours work on a psychological, as well as a physical level
  • Oranges and yellows are great to wear when you are feeling flat as they energise and stimulate you
  • Feeling stressed at work? All shades of blue are calming
  • Whites show serenity
  • Greens are fabulous for relieving tension
You can also create different impressions with colour,
  • Wearing red demonstrates that you are dynamic, assertive and capable
  • Blues in general are associated with good communication and loyalty
  • Yellows and oranges are considered creative and sociable colours
Accessories play a very important role in the colour equation. It used to be considered passť to have the matching shoes, bag, scarf – now its mandatory:
  • Shoes are fun and frivolous in a bouquet of colours this season. Don’t invest too much as with all trends it will be worn today and gone tomorrow
  • Bags vary from the over scale shopper or beach bag to the neat envelope, from the transparent plastic to the sequinned floral. Nothing however can replace a crisp, clean lined neutral leather bag for work – credible not kooky
  • Jewellery has become larger with the chandelier earring making a comeback. There is a strong usage of natural elements crystals, beads, wood and corals. Adding some of the latest jewellery trends to your wardrobe basics will serve to update it with the minimum of cost outlay. Ensure that they are not distracting or noisy for the work environment.
  • A 50’s inspired return of the scarf . These are versatile additions to a wardrobe. Neckerchiefs and sashes adorn every fashion page. Your large square scarf now can be transformed into a beautiful, stylish satin shirt under your jacket
Bright colours impart a feeling of light heartedness, fun and joy. Have fun playing with them ...
Learn to work with this seasons colours?
Find out how you can wear the brights?

Contact Professional Impressions for information regarding their Colour Intelligence Workshops, these can be arranged on an individual basis or in small groups and will ensure that you never make a colour clothing mistake again as well as always looking your very best

Tel: (011) 679–3036    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–imp@webmail.co.za
Professional Impressions would like to credit the following for information and images used in this article:
Esquire UK, September Edition
Sink or Swim Sam Wilson
First Impressions Ann Demarais and Valerie White
Colour in your Life Erla–Mari Diedericks
30 minutes to make the Right Impression Eleri Sampson
How to make people like you in 30 sec or less Nicholas Boothman
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Make Your First Impression the Lasting One
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