Impression management is the effort to control or influence other people’s perceptions. This could be their perception of a certain person, a material possession or an event. Let’s learn more about this content through the article below.
What is Impression Management (IM)?
Impression Management (IM), also known as self-presentation, is the conscious or unconscious process by which individuals strive to affect others’ perceptions of a person, object, or event through the regulation and management of information in social interactions. In addition, the Impression Management hypothesis explains that individuals must guarantee that their perceptions and cognitions align with their goals and activities. Read more about cognitive dissonance in the philosophy of consistency.
People will constantly show themselves in the most favorable light imaginable. Most individuals frequently wonder what others will think of them when they do, say, or refrain from doing anything. The same holds true in the corporate sphere. Consider a company’s marketing efforts as an example.
Salespeople will showcase their product or service in the most favorable light possible. In reality, it is their responsibility to control public and potential consumer perceptions in order to maximize results. A more common example is a boy who purchases bright new football shoes since scouts will be attending the game.
Impression Management theory
Erving Goffman originally conceived of Impression Management in 1959. The initial publication of the piece was in “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life.” In 1967, the concept was extended.
The development of research into Impression Management followed two distinct paths. One of these was directed at aspects that impact the perceptions that individuals wish to express. The alternative route results in eleven distinct presenting views.
This includes compliance, violence, leadership, stigmatization, and mental and physical health. This article addresses each of the eleven approaches for self-presentation.
Impression Management Techniques
Impression management refers to individuals’ efforts to control and affect the perceptions of others. There are about seven approaches for Impression Management. All of these methods are utilized in daily life. At the office, at home, and on other occasions.
Conformity is being accepted and is meant to allow others to appreciate the environment or the people in the environment. When corporations bring employees together to collaborate, they adopt this strategy to guarantee that the employees feel accepted and comfortable.
The second Impression Management approach addresses excuses. In general, an excuse is a person’s justification for a poor or unsatisfactory action. This justification is used to prevent a harsh penalty or judgment. Excuses are commonly given. When being late for a meeting or receiving a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.
Acclaim is the act of greeting the audience with pride since one knows he or she has performed an excellent job. Someone does this action with a sense of superiority.
This might apply to a member of a project team who is commended by the project manager for an excellent concept or effort in the business sector. This motivates colleagues to work harder and better.
The act of lavishing someone with compliments to make them look insightful and likable. Flattery is an aggressive social tactic for manipulating the perceptions of others in order to gain social desirability.
This is achieved by the use of flattering, praising, and complimentary language. This impression method is very prevalent in the field of internet marketing.
Self-promotion is emphasizing one’s finest qualities and downplaying one’s weaknesses. This brings emphasis to the individual’s accomplishments. This occurrence is very prevalent in the corporate sector.
An example of this is a salesperson who informs his supervisor that it took colleague x three years to complete as many sales transactions as he did in six weeks.
In both business and everyday life, favors are another prevalent tactic. Favors include doing something kind for others in order to gain their acceptance and approval.
A seller of expensive automobiles, for instance, may offer his customer theater tickets he cannot use himself.
Association is concerned with enhancing or defending one’s image by controlling information about one’s associations with people and things.
As an example, a candidate may tell the interviewer, “That’s such a coincidence, your boss and I were college roommates.” Association also entails partnering with others to strengthen and defend each other in terms of the knowledge and reputation of the individuals involved.
Redirection is the process of diverting someone’s attention from one topic to another. Redirection as an impression management approach is successful because it replaces bad information with positive information, therefore distracting individuals from it.
This may entail altering the subject or presenting facts from a different angle. Advertisers frequently employ redirection when addressing the negative features of their product but instantly explaining those drawbacks by emphasizing a benefit.
Discussing your good characteristics, skills, and abilities directly is a direct type of impression control. When you have established authority and trust with your audience, boasting is most effective. People may be more inclined to believe that you embody good characteristics if they already associate you with positivity in other ways.
Inappropriately boasting or comparing oneself to others might generate a poor impression. If you wish to demonstrate your achievement while maintaining a humble demeanor, talking about your wealth and lifestyle may have the opposite impact.
Transparency, sometimes known as supplication, entails exposing your flaws as a method to elicit greater support for your aims or demands. Admitting your flaws up front and looking remorseful or modest about them might make them appear less serious and divert attention away from unfavorable information.
By revealing this knowledge and being truthful about your weaknesses, you may appeal to the honesty and integrity of other individuals. Even if you are giving unfavorable facts, openness demonstrates self-awareness and the capacity to be straightforward, which fosters trust.
Impression Management and job interviews
Individuals from a collectivist society (according to Geert Hofstede’s dimensions) score higher on the Impression Management test. In addition, higher Impression Management scores are more common on selection evaluations than on development assessments.
The similar impact occurs when an individual obtains a new job. In this circumstance, he or she tends to build a more favorable picture of themselves than while searching for self-improvement opportunities.
When applying for a commercial employment, a high score is frequently associated with the individual. That looks reasonable. According to psychologist Jan Meijning, the primary purpose of such a meeting is to sell oneself.
Impression Management in Sociology
Impression management, often known as self-presentation, refers to the means through which individuals strive to regulate how others view them (Goffman, 1959).
People can affect others’ responses by transmitting certain perceptions about their talents, attitudes, motivations, status, emotional reactions, and other traits.
Impression management is a frequent means through which individuals influence one another to achieve their own objectives.
While earlier theorists (e.g., Burke, 1950; Hart & Burk, 1972) provided viewpoints on the individual as a performer, Goffman (1959) was the first to create a precise theory of self presentation.
Goffman established the foundation and defining concepts of what is popularly known as impression management in his well-known work.
Goffman considered impression management not just as a way to influence how one is treated by others, but also as a fundamental aspect of social interaction.
He expresses this viewpoint using a theatrical device. Different actors play for different audiences, and the performers and audiences work together to negotiate and sustain the concept of a scene.
According to Goffman, the self is not a fixed entity within individuals, but rather a social process. For social interactions to run successfully, each participant must present a public identity that directs the activities of others (Goffman, 1959, 1963; Leary, 2001; Tseelon, 1992).
Goffman explains that when people enter the presence of others, they transmit information through both verbal and nonverbal purposeful and inadvertent techniques.
Individuals participate in social interactions, according to Goffman, by executing a “line” or “a sequence of verbal and nonverbal acts through which he displays his perception of the situation and, by extension, his appraisal of the participants, including himself” (1967, p. 5).
Both the artist and the audience construct and maintain such lines. By properly delivering a sentence, a person obtains social worth or “face.”
Self-deception and Impression Management
Self-deception is the denial or rationalization of the relevance, significance, or meaning of evidence and logical reasoning. Self-deception requires individuals to convince themselves of a truth in order to conceal their awareness of the falsehood.
Everyone engages in some degree of self-deception. However, too much of it is harmful. Just attempt to convince someone who believes they are listening that they are not listening. It is hard to convince someone of their inflated self-perception in a short amount of time if they are unaware of their inflated self-perception.
Therefore, avoid attempting this during a job interview. When this occurs, the topic will likely devolve into a yes-or-no discussion. A person with an inflated self-perception will even refute test findings. Instead, it requests the candidate’s strengths, with examples.
How do you practice Impression Management
1. Know yourself
Self-awareness is one of the most crucial aspects of effective Impression Management and genuineness. Goffman, a sociologist, established a dramaturgical theory in which he asserted that humans are essentially a collection of the numerous roles we take.
However, having a feeling of self-worth is essential. Who are we? What do I value? What do I believe? It is essential to have a strong sense of self-worth to avoid being a chameleon who conforms to everything and everyone around them. It is not essential to always follow the crowd.
2. Be mindful
When connecting with people, our brain functions at maximum capacity. In social interactions, it is essential to be great listeners and to comprehend the perspectives of others. Many connections are created between different brain regions for this function.
People should consider the repercussions of their words and deeds, even if this frequently occurs unconsciously. Self-disclosure is essential to developing connections with others.
However, we should be cautious not to divulge too much information too early and should constantly consider how others may react to this knowledge.
3. Manage emotions
Nothing generates a poor impression more quickly than an improper and abrupt expression of emotion. Emotions are essential for interacting with people, and expressing them gives equilibrium to the brain, but they must be managed and tempered. Negative emotions, like wrath, impatience, and even contempt, must always be portrayed with care and strategy.
It is vital for executives in large organizations, for example, to retain emotional restraint while quietly communicating their satisfaction or displeasure.
4. Remember etiquette rules
A collection of social rules, often known as norms, instructs individuals on how to act in certain social settings. It is crucial to adhere to and respect these social conventions in order to establish and keep a favorable impression.
In addition, it is essential to demonstrate that we have decent manners and know how to act in various, potentially stressful situations.
Few individuals disapprove of or have bad connotations with politeness, thus it is always a smart technique for impression management to be nice.
5. Be self-confident
It is tough to develop self-confidence if you lack it, but there are social situations that need guts and decisiveness. Consider a circumstance in which you are required to communicate with people. Take the initiative and ask a decent inquiry or assist someone without thinking.
Additionally, it is essential to defend one’s values or views. It is crucial to persuade others of your visions if you hold a position of leadership. Most people will respect your commitment to a certain set of beliefs or ideals. Nonetheless, be realistic.
When someone presents an argument that disproves your conviction or way of work, you should modify them.
6. Be positive
When making impressions, there is much to gain from examining the significance and use of positive thinking and positive affection. A smile, a praise, and pleasant energy are always preferable to a hostile and tense environment. Positive CEOs will have an easier time persuading employees and will be perceived as more successful.
Effective self-image management is not always straightforward. As with the majority of social skills, this too should be practiced often in order to enhance one’s self-impression control.
Why is impression management important?
Impressions matter, which highlights the significance of impression management. Impressions are so important that our brains do millions of calculations within seconds of meeting a new person.
We are evaluating and critiquing them based on their attire, body language, and if they appear trustworthy, confident, or accessible. The list continues. Once someone has an impression about you or your company, it can be challenging to alter that perception.
Online, the same is true. Within seconds of Googling your firm, someone will have already decided whether or not to trust you; they may not even be aware of this. Additionally, you’ll want to put your best foot forward online. This may involve eliminating unfavorable search results and producing more positive material. A single poor review might dissuade a potential customer from doing business with you.
While it is nearly difficult to influence another person’s view, impression management allows us to portray ourselves in a manner that may be more likely to elicit a favorable response from others. At the very least, a favorable first impression might provide you with the chance to provide further information about yourself or your company.
Despite the importance of impression management, this is not the time to make misleading statements. When you lie to make a favorable impression, the truth will usually emerge in some form, and your reputation will suffer as a result. Comparable to attending a job interview with false information on your résumé. They will discover the truth, and it will not look well for you.
Before creating any impressions, it is always advisable to conduct a thorough self-evaluation to ensure that you or your brand live up to their claims.
How can I manage my impression online?
If possible, get any bad reviews or articles deleted. Create fresh, positive material to bury less favorable stuff.
What is the purpose of impression management?
Impression management serves primarily to build or maintain a person’s social position. This is true even in economic contexts, since corporations rely on their public image to persuade others to conduct business with them. People may utilize impression management for any purpose, from gaining friends to obtaining employment. Understanding your personal motive for impression management helps achieving your desired objective easier.
Who uses impression management?
When engaging with others, everyone does impression management to some degree. Even if you are not intentionally attempting to influence people’ perceptions of you, your friends, your career, or your values, you may nonetheless exhibit a personal bias while providing facts about your life.
Interpersonally, people utilize impression management when they discuss their traits and passions depending on what they believe others would find relatable. You may use image management in job interviews to persuade people of your qualifications and in business meetings to encourage profitable agreements.
Additionally, organizations utilize impression management on a broader scale to impact how their community, customers, and target audience view the company’s brand and goal. As an alternative to human communication, corporations influence public opinion through marketing campaigns, news releases, spokespeople, sponsorships, corporate policies, and business activities.
How does advertising use impression management?
Advertising depends on impression management to persuade consumers to make purchases based on their favorable perceptions of a particular brand or organization. Advertisers utilize impression management whenever they connect with the general public, including customers and other companies. This may be accomplished through press releases, videos, print ads, product packaging, social media postings, comments, and even customer service procedures.
Impression management enables advertisers to win favor with the general public by emphasizing particular facets of their business, so creating favorable associations with their target demographic.
This frequently involves fundamental advertising methods, such as a candy manufacturer emphasizing solely the flavor of their product and ignoring its nutritional content in an effort to convince consumers to disregard the negative repercussions of purchasing the product.
Advertising impression management may also be more complicated, such as utilizing a humorous and welcoming tone in social media postings to make customers view the entire business as more approachable.
How to use impression management
The implementation of your image management strategy is crucial to achieving the desired outcome. Regardless of the image management method you use, there are a few essential stages for successfully influencing others:
1. Determine the values of your audience
Understanding an individual’s present ideas and beliefs is the first step towards influencing their thinking. Knowing a person’s own objectives and values that inspire their cognitive process makes it simpler to persuade them to agree with you or form a specific perspective. Accentuate the characteristics that your audience values most, making minor tweaks dependent on who you wish to attract.
2. Be subtle
No one likes to believe that they are being influenced, thus it is crucial that your impression management strategies be discreet. Making others believe it was their idea to make a purchase, agree to a transaction, or take your counsel will increase their confidence in their decisions.
People prefer to trust their own judgment more than the opinion of others, therefore providing subtle hints rather than issuing a clear command can be considerably more effective.
3. Use techniques consistently
Adhere to your impression management approach and maintain a consistent message across all encounters. Over time, repeating information might help individuals feel more at ease with the concept, and they may even come to view your thoughts as facts. Have a specific objective for how you want others to see you or your work, and consistently take steps to reinforce that image.
4. Measure your impact
Whenever possible, acquire data on how people see you. This might be difficult in interpersonal settings, but corporations can simply get information about public opinion through surveys and focus groups. Understanding how your impression management techniques affect actual individuals might help you develop more efficient strategies.
Examples of impression management
Consider the following examples to better grasp how image management works:
- A corporation detects a data breach and releases a press release and a letter to customers detailing the situation and the efforts being taken to remedy it. This handles the perception of their consumers by being open and proactive about a company loss, rather than attempting to conceal it.
- You dress more modestly than normal while meeting a new love partner’s parents because your spouse highlighted their conservative upbringing. This provides the idea that you share similar beliefs based just on your attire.
- During a business transaction, someone cites the cost of a proposed new venture. When responding to cost-related concerns, you begin by highlighting the beneficial effects of each item, rather than the effects of modifying budget plans.
- In an interview, you begin by praising a newly published essay by your interviewer. Not only does this put them in a favorable frame of mind, but it also gives them the sense that you follow industry trends and conduct thorough research.
Impression management is the deliberate or unconscious attempt to affect others’ impressions of a person, item, or event through the regulation and control of information in social interaction.
Generally, people engage in impression management to accomplish objectives that demand a particular public image. This is referred to as self-presentation.
Sociology and social psychology define self-presentation as the conscious or unconscious process by which individuals attempt to influence the impressions others create of them.
The objective is to show oneself as they would like to be perceived by the people or group with whom they are interacting. This management style focuses mostly on the initial impression.
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