Open dialog

Open dialog contains a selection of articles, white papers and discussion papers written by Dialog people which you may find of interest. You are able to subscribe to this page. We would like your feedback on any article. Please email us at

Open Dialog Article

First Impressions Count

Open dialog article,
By John D'Hooghe, Group Manager & Paul Sorenson, former Solutions Architect, Dialog IT

Dialog's consultants bring together a range of inter-personal skills to deliver successful projects for its clients. Being aware of “first impressions” is just one of those skills.

As part of Dialog’s professional development, consultants are exposed to extensive training courses to continually improve their skills. Some courses focus on technical skills whilst others focus on interpersonal skills. One such course is Dialog’s Client Interview and Meeting Skills for Dialog Consultants. The course recognises the importance of effective communication between the consultant and stakeholders. At Dialog we believe it’s not solely about the technology but about the way it is implemented and how it is used. It’s about managing the way people work together to achieve the “right” result.

Training course

The course is run in-house by one of our Executive Consultants who specialises in coaching people on inter-personal and consulting skills. Over several days consultants are placed in role playing situations where their interpersonal skills are tested and honed. Each consultant walks away with a set of personalised videos of their training. Classroom training is also provided.

One of the components of the course focuses on “first impressions”. Dialog uses an exercise taken from the latest findings from two University of Texas researchers (Gosling and Naumann, 2009) to test people's ability to judge other people on first impressions.

Research Study

In their paper titled 'First Impressions Count When Judging Personality' (University of Texas at Austin, 2009) Gosling and Naumann found that people are actually quite good at making correct judgements about other people based on first impressions.

In the study, participants viewed full-body photographs of 123 people they had never met before. The targets were viewed either in a controlled pose with a neutral facial expression or in a naturally expressed pose. The accuracy of the judgments was gauged by comparing them to the aggregate of self-ratings and that of three informants who knew the targets well.

Even when viewing the targets in the controlled pose, the observers could accurately judge some major personality traits. But most traits were hard to detect under these conditions. When observers saw naturally expressive behaviour (such as a smiling expression or energetic stance), their judgments were accurate for nine of the 10 personality traits.

As Sam Gosling explained, "We have long known that people jump to conclusions about others on the basis of very little information, but what's striking about these findings is how many of the impressions have a kernel of truth to them, even on the basis of something as simple as a single photograph."


Standing posture (tense vs. relaxed, energetic vs. tired) and smiling are important cues to judge a variety of traits. The study showed that extraverts smile more, stand in energetic and less tense ways, and look healthy, neat and stylish.

These learning's are brought together in a practical fashion into Dialog’s approach and skills courses. All of Dialog’s internal skills courses can be adapted for delivery to our clients. Please contact us for more information.

Reference this article: John D'Hooghe, Group Manager & Paul Sorenson, First Impressions Count (2012-04-27) Open Dialog - Dialog Information Technology <>

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