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What is Impression Management?

When a person is trying to mould his natural behavior just to manage a particular situation or to look good in front of others then he is following the art of Impression Management. It makes us feel good if we claim to be an expert at something and people around you accept the same. This helps in increasing their self-confidence and raising their self-esteem. After making a good impression it becomes easier to influence others to dance on your own tunes. People, in day to day life, widely use this technique of Impression Management to effect a change in personality.

A real life example may be that a person who has a habit of wearing shabby clothes grooms himself very nicely just before going for a party, for an interview or for a date. This acts as a feel good factor for many individuals and thus increases their confidence. Somebody has rightly said, “First impression is the last impression”. This worldly accepted famous quote in itself tells about the need and importance of Impression Management. And a more assertive way to quote this is by adding, “And you never get a second chance to make the first impression”.

 

How to use Impression Management effectively?
There are several ways by which people can use the concept of Impression Management to make them look superior to what they actually are. Some of these are:
• People tend to talk about their personal characteristics portraying them in a manner so as to make themselves look superior amongst all.
• People often conform from a desire to achieve a sense of security within a group.

• People tend to give excuses or try to justify their acts so as to make them acceptable to everyone.
• These days people try to portray their deceptive nature of being courteous just to show how down to earth they are and how readily they accept their mistakes.

 

• If somebody has achieved something high and of great importance then people tend to take credit of that worthy act by telling everybody how they played a vital role by offering a helping hand to accomplish the task.
• Cajoling is the one way of making yourself likeable by everybody as it’s a typical human behavior of people who like being flattered. This is the best way to make things work.
• Returning favors of the good behavior that is showed to you can create miracles for people who do the same. This is “Good Tit for Tat’ method.

Why do people adopt the technique of Impression Management? There are basically two main reasons that drive people to adopt the art Impression Management which are:

 

1. Effectiveness: Many people feel that by managing their impression they can get by on charm on any person and make them work according to their wishes i.e. people show the other side of their personality to match people requirements from place to place. E.g. A boy coming out of a Mercedes Benz which is borrowed from one of his friend and branded clothes to pick up his girlfriend just to show how rich he is trying to make the girl flattered.

2. Conflict avoidance: The best way to avoid conflict is to act sweet specially to those who like people with soft voices. People who follow the art of Impression Management never try to win an argument. They believe in, “Never win an argument, you often lose a friend”. E.g. Reconciling with the other person in spite of knowing that he was wrong and himself believes in, “A reconciled friend is double enemy”.

Managing impression at a job interview
People take care of the following things for managing impression at the time of appearing for an interview:

1. Dressing Style: No matter how old or dirty shirt they usually wear but at the D-day, they will wear the best of their collections or many a times even a new shirt.

2. Punctuality: Some people have a habit of procrastinating work for the end moment which sometimes leads to overshoot the deadline but they will make sure that they reach the interview center well before time just to show that they are punctual.

3. Humility: Some people are very arrogant by nature but during those 15 minutes of the interview, to crack the interview, they try to act as humble as possible just because they know how much important this trait is.

4. Body Language: People take personality development classes before appearing for an interview. There they learn that no matter how much stressed the interview is, always try to carry a smile and try not to cross legs or to press hands.

On the contrary, these days many interviews are supplemented with psychometric tests of personality to know that, is the candidate faking the interview or trying to fit-in for the job?
As this it is likely to lead to problems down the line as the true self emerges.

I would like to explain my point of view by taking Satyam as an example. As you all are aware, they managed the impression of being a financially sound company which helped them to maintain their stock price to a high level. But internally the company was in fraudulent activities which led their debacle resulting in degrading its own reputation. Thus, Using Impression Management any organization can achieve success but it is always short lived. No matter how much you try to deceive, someday or the other the truth comes out.

At the last I want to quote that, “By Impression Management, you can get on by on charm on someone for just the first 15 minutes, after that you better know something”

Contributing Writer:  Pranav Chawla
B.E. (Polymer), MIT Pune, MBA (Operations + Marketing), IMT Nagpur

 

 
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