Subscribe to newsletter

Did you know I was a halogen transformers specialist?
ā€œThe importance of the first impression"

how to fascinateĀ® mindset personal branding personal stories Apr 17, 2024
Karolien Vanhelden - Personal branding - First impression

In my late twenties I drove to EREA, a factory specialized in lighting and halogen transformers for my first assignment as a marketing consultant. My temporary manager welcomed me and showed me the different departments of the factory. I already felt my future team watching me during my factory visit. A male only team of engineers with a lot of experience (some of them 30+ years of experience) in their domain.

And there I was, a young lady with no knowledge whatsoever about transformers, electricity, engineering,… but taking up the role of Product Manager Halogen Transformers for the upcoming months. I can tell you, that was kind of scary…

I wasn’t familiar yet with personal branding in the way I am now and I didn’t have a profound knowledge of my own personality yet, but what I did know was the importance of the first impression, the first seconds you meet someone. I only had 7 to 9 seconds to win over the hearts of that male team and to start a great collaboration.

I’m not the person who easily creates “rapport” and I also knew I didn’t need to start brainstorming with them or come up with new ideas, because they already had an overload of projects in their head. I did what I do best: I listened. I made them feel seen and heard and absorbed their impressive knowledge and passion for their job. Afterwards I would run with all of this, analyze all the gathered information and set up a roadmap acting as a kind of funnel to finally decide whether or not we would go for a certain lighting project or not. Actually, I didn’t know back then, but I acted as The Archer: combining the art of listening with the creation of detailed scenarios.

It ended up being a great experience: I followed a course in underwater lighting, went through the technical specifications of all the transformers, buried transformers in the ground to check if they were suitable for outdoor usage,… It was difficult to say goodbye, even and also for those tough-looking guys.

Afterwards they told me that when they saw me doing the factory visit, they thought: What can this young lady with the nice clothes possibly do in this factory set-up? They even felt sorry for me. But they immediately felt, after our first connection, that there was a lot of potential to work together and break things.

I share with you this story because I want to point out the importance of the first impression. Our attention span is reduced to 9 seconds (even less). That’s all we get before the brain of our conversation partner makes a decision to either stay focused or find something/someone better. And according to the Harvard Study of Communications, we only have 7 seconds to make a first impression. These 7 seconds represent our “golden window” to inspire others, earn their attention and connect with them.

To face distraction and divided attention there is only one antidote: Fascination! If you don’t fascinate in those first seconds, people will move on to the next shiny object or person that grabs their attention.

Of course, the first 7 seconds isn’t the only time you have. But it does earn you the next 7 seconds and the next and so on… Until you have established a true connection and relationship. If you want to build relationships and lasting loyalty, you must succeed in those first seconds. And the only way to do so is by understanding how you fascinate people in your own natural way. You need to know your unique personality, your highest distinct value, how you attract people just by staying yourself,…

Who would have thought more than 10 years ago that I would use my experience as a Product Manager Halogen Transformers as an example of the golden window of 7 seconds to make a first impression. I didn’t…

If you are ready to glow, to radiate your fascinating energy, I am here to introduce you in the fascinating world of fascination… Discover my program Your Personal Brand kickstart with Fascinate® !

Visual proof:

Subscribe to my newsletter to read my next blog posts and
to become part of my solopreneurship’s journey.

From inspiration over tips and stories to all things personal branding and content marketing.
Join the cool truthtellers club, rocking their personal brand!

When you submit your first name, last name and email you are opting in for the email newsletter and relevant updates from Karolien Vanhelden. You can unsubscribe at any time. We respect your privacy as you can read in our privacy policy.