Have you ever been told to dress to impress? Ever wondered how wearing a suit to a meeting makes a difference?
We’re reminded to ‘dress for success’ or ‘dress for the job we want’ because appropriate attire creates a better impression. It influences the way others see you.
Let’s see what impression management means and how it impacts our relationships.
Meaning Of Impression Management
Impression management is a conscious or unconscious effort towards influencing the perceptions, decisions and opinions of other people. In simpler words, it is a process of controlling or managing impressions of others in social interactions. Let’s look at some of the types and examples of impression management to understand the concept.
There are two primary types of impression management.
Constructive: One that helps in the formation of self-identity.
We see the success of constructive impression management in the advertising world. Take Starbucks, for example. It’s considered ‘cool and hip’ when you purchase a chai tea latte.
Strategic: One that helps in achieving interpersonal goals.
We see maximum instances of strategic impression management in our professional lives. Whether you’re attending a job interview, interacting with a client or attending a conference—you dress appropriately and regulate your tone and language accordingly.
Strategies Of Impression Management
No matter what anybody says, first impressions in business environments matter to a great extent. Not only do impressions help you maintain professionalism but also contribute to business growth and development. You’ll see two basic types of strategies of impression management in workplaces:
If someone is trying to stay out of trouble or lessen the impact of a damaging event, they’ll use the demotion-preventive strategy. Many will justify their action(s) or find excuses to prove themselves right. Many will offer their apologies so that they can repair the damage to some extent.
If someone is trying to project an ideal version of themselves, they’ll use a promotion-enhancing strategy. Some will work towards identifying personal or professional obstacles that interrupt their career growth. Some will work harder with stricter deadlines or more workload, therefore stepping outside their comfort zone. Some will even voice their concern(s) about their efforts not going.
Impression Management Techniques
Impression management is a valuable tool that helps you engage in strategic behavior, but it can get tricky. Learn to differentiate between constructive and destructive impression techniques before you engage with people. Here’s a list of seven common techniques that we use in everyday life.
It’s the act of matching your behavior with the group or environmental norms and attitudes. For example, students need to conform to a set of rules while they’re present on school grounds or in the classroom.
They generally refer to an explanation that cushions the consequences of a negative or unacceptable event. For example, we may make excuses when we’re late to work.
It means to proudly and openly acknowledge somebody when they do their work properly or correctly. For example, in team feedback sessions, managers give employees who are doing a good job a pat on the back.
To excessively compliment someone to appear likable or perceptive is to flatter them. For example, if you want an extra serving of food, you may compliment and flatter the chef.
To emphasize your best characteristics or downplay your weaknesses are some of the effective ways of promoting or advertising yourself. Social media influencers are widely known for self-promotion.
To do something nice for others to receive approval or acceptance is to do a favor. For example, you may take on some extra work so that your coworker can attend their child’s school play.
Sometimes we associate with certain people to protect or promote our self-image. For example, people network at conferences so that they can reach out to more people in the industry later.
Though highly effective, impression management can get risky. We must monitor ourselves and not be overly concerned about others’ opinions and impressions. Be smart about using impression techniques.
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