First impressions are really important when it comes to a job interview, meeting the in-laws for the first time, trying to land a sale, and many, many other social situations...
...and it only takes two to three seconds to make a first impression.
According to Mind Tools the key elements to making a great first impression are:
1. Be on time.
2. Present yourself appropriately.
3. Be yourself.
4. Have a winning smile.
5. Be open and confident.
6. Use small talk.
7. Be positive.
8. Be courteous and attentive.
We have all probably heard this list before (or something like it), and you've probably been to a job interview, or have had to meet someone you wanted to impress, but did you ever think about the first impression your writing makes? You should.
When you send a letter or an article to a colleague or publisher they cannot help but form some kind of first impression when they open your document; this also applies to your professor. When your professor opens your essay and the header is wrong, there is no title, your paper contains three different fonts, or it's all single-spaced, it makes them wonder what other instructions you failed to follow. Did you do the assignment? Did you follow the examples? Did you include all the required elements? Is every other word misspelled?
In other words, in less than five seconds your professor has an unfavorable first impression of your work and that can never be good. What advice do you have for giving your reader a GREAT first impression?