Seconds to Impression

Seconds To Impression

Some say its seven seconds. Others a fraction of a second.  This is the time one person makes an impression of another.


Picture  this. Its your first time to meet a patient. Is this patient likely to see you again? The moment our patients  sees our face, he is already starting to make decisions about us.


One study in Princeton says that people make something out of others including attractiveness, likeability, competence, trustworthiness, and aggressiveness within a second.


Gestures more than words  help patients form that first impression.

A welcoming smile. An open stance. Eye contact. A lean forward.  A pleasant tone. An unrushed visit.


I keep these things in  mind when I visit a mom who just gave birth. After seeing a newborn, I visit the mom in the room. After the visit, I  check myself against those parameters and gauge whether the patient’s mom is likely to return based on their responses and body language.


What impression are you making?


First impressions may not always last. But it certainly lingers.

(Image: SalvatoreVuono /

2 thoughts on “Seconds to Impression

  1. I remember years ago my aunt was brought to the Emergency Room of a moderately-sized hospital in Paranaque. She had abdominal pains. After just a few minutes there, my aunt said that she wanted to transfer hospital. When asked why, she said, “I don’t trust the doctor. He’s wearing slippers!”
    Funny and unreasonable? Maybe not.

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