IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT (IM): Theory, Techniques, and Examples

Impression Management

Influencing how others feel about a person, product, situation, or idea may be a great asset in both professional and social settings. Impression management is the process of attempting to influence the views of others. Understanding how impression management works might help you reach professional goals and improve your workplace effectiveness.
In this post, we define impression management theory, including its goal and methods, and explain how to use situational examples to execute it in the workplace.

What is Impression Management (IM)?

Impression Management (IM), also known as self-presentation, is the conscious or subconscious process by which people strive to affect others’ perceptions of a person, object, or event through the regulation and control of information in social encounters.

Furthermore, this impression management theory expands on the fact that people must ensure that their perceptions and cognitions align with their goals and actions.

People will constantly show themselves as positively to others as possible (public image). Most people are frequently concerned about what others will think of them when they do, do not do, or say anything. That is also true in the business world. Take, for example, a company’s marketing efforts.

Salespeople will do everything they can to present their product or service in the best light possible, hoping for the best. In reality, it is their responsibility to manage the public’s and potential consumers’ impressions in order to maximize the results. A more common example is the child who buys bright new football shoes because he knows scouts will be in attendance at the game.

Impression Management Theory

Erving Goffman first proposed impression management theory in 1959. ‘The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life’ was the first publication of the work. In 1967, the notion was elaborated upon.
This subject’s research has progressed along two distinct paths. One of these focused on elements that influence the impressions people strive to make on others. The alternate route leads to eleven distinct presentation viewpoints.
Conformity, violence, leadership, stigmatization, and mental and physical health are among these perspectives.

Who Makes Use of Impression Management?

When interacting with others, everyone uses impression management. Even if you are not consciously attempting to influence how others see you, your friends, your jobs, or your ideas, you may nevertheless exhibit a personal bias when sharing facts about your life.

On an interpersonal level, people practice impression management when they talk about their characteristics and interests based on what they believe others would relate to. You can use impression management to persuade others of your qualifications during job interviews and at business meetings to promote profitable deals.

On a larger scale, organizations employ impression management to impact how their community, customers, and target audience view the company’s brand and mission. Businesses use marketing campaigns, press releases, spokespeople, sponsorships, corporate policies, and business initiatives to influence public opinion rather than direct contact.

What is the Importance of Impression Management?

First impressions are critical, especially online. When someone Googles you, they almost immediately decide whether or not they trust you. This impression is critical as you strive to attain your personal and professional objectives.

How is Impression Management Used in Advertising?

Advertising focuses on impression management to persuade people to make purchases based on their positive perceptions of a particular brand or organization. Advertisers employ impression management whenever they communicate with the general public, which includes both consumers and other companies.

Press releases, videos, print commercials, product packaging, social media posts, comments, and even customer service policies can all be used to do this.
Impression management enables advertisers to earn public favor by publicizing specific features of their business, resulting in good connections among their target audience.

This frequently uses simple advertising methods, such as a candy manufacturer emphasizing the flavor of their product rather than the nutritional value in order to persuade consumers to overlook the bad implications of purchasing a product.

Advertising impression management can also be more complex, such as utilizing a humorous and welcoming tone in social media posts to make customers think of the whole company as more relevant.

Techniques for Impression Management

People’s attempts to control and influence the impressions others have of them are referred to as impression management. Impression Management techniques number around seven. All of these techniques are used in everyday life. At work, at home, and in other situations.

#1. Conformity

Conformity denotes acceptance and is meant to allow others to appreciate their environment or the people in their surroundings. Companies use this strategy when employees get together to work together, ensuring that the employees feel accepted and comfortable.

#2. Justifications

The second Impression Management approach is all about making excuses. Excuses are a person’s justification for a poor or unpleasant situation.
This explanation is provided in order to avoid harsh punishment or judgment. Excuses are frequently made. When a driver is punished for failing to wear his seatbelt or is late for a meeting.

#3. Acclaim

Acclaim indicates greeting the audience proudly because someone knows he or she did an excellent job. Someone does this with a sense of self-importance.
In the business environment, this could refer to a member of a project team who is congratulated by the project manager for an excellent idea or initiative. This motivates other employees to work harder and more efficiently.

#4. Flattery

Flattery is the practice of complimenting someone excessively in order to look insightful and agreeable. This is an assertive social tactic used to manage the impressions of others in order to boost one’s social attractiveness.

This is accomplished by speaking things that flatter, laud, or complement the other person. This impression method is very popular in the field of online marketing.

#5. Self Promotion

Self-promotion entails emphasizing one’s greatest qualities while downplaying one’s flaws. This attracts attention to one’s own accomplishments. This occurrence is very common in the corporate world.

A salesman who tells his supervisor, ‘Colleague x has taken three years to reach the number of sales transactions I’ve done in six weeks,’ is an example of Impression Management.

#6. Favors

Another prevalent strategy, both in business and in everyday life, is the use of favors. Favors involve doing something pleasant for others in order to get their acceptance and approval.
For example, a luxury automobile dealer may offer his customer theater tickets because he cannot use them himself.

#7. Collaboration

The management of information about persons and things with whom one is affiliated is concerned with improving or safeguarding one’s image.
For example, an applicant could tell the interviewer, “Wow, what a coincidence, your boss and I were roommates at university.” The collaboration also entails working with others to strengthen and defend one another in terms of the information and image of those involved in the association.

Impressions Management Examples

Consider the following examples to better understand how impression management works:
When a firm discovers a data breach, it promptly sends a news statement and a letter to its customers detailing the problem and the steps it is doing to repair it in order to create the impression of transparency and trust.

When meeting the parents of a new romantic partner, you dress more conservatively than usual because your partner mentioned their conservative background.
Also, when responding to worries about the cost of a new business project, you highlight the benefits of each expense rather than the consequences of modifying budget plans.

In an interview, you should begin by complimenting your interviewer on a recent article they published to give them the impression that you are aware of industry trends and conduct thorough research.

Interviews and Impression Management

People from collectivist cultures (according to Geert Hofstede’s dimensions) are likely to score higher on Impression Management. Furthermore, higher Impression Management scores are more common in selection assessments than in development assessments.

The same thing happens when someone gets a new job. When looking for potential areas for self-development, he or she tends to paint a more positive picture of themselves.
When applying for a commercial job, a high score is more often associated with the candidate. That seems reasonable. According to Jan Meijning, a psychologist, such a meeting is all about selling oneself.

Impression Management and Self-deception

Self-deception is the process or expression of denying or rationalizing the significance, meaning, or importance of evidence and logical arguments. Self-deception requires convincing oneself of truth in order to conceal self-knowledge of the falsehood.

Everyone exhibits some degree of self-deception. However, too much of it is harmful. Try explaining to someone that they’re not listening while they’re convinced they are. It is impossible to impress this upon someone who is unaware of their unrealistic view of themselves in a short period of time.

So, do not attempt this during a job interview. When this occurs, the discourse is likely to devolve into a yes-no debate. Someone with a distorted self-image will even refute the findings of a test report. Instead, asks for examples of a candidate’s strengths.

How To Use Impression Management

Several guidelines for managing the impressions you make on others are provided below.

#1. Get to know yourself

One of the most fundamental aspects of good IM and authenticity is self-awareness. Erving Goffman, a sociologist, established a dramaturgical theory in which he suggested that humans are simply a collection of many roles we play.

However, having a sense of self-worth is essential. What exactly am I? What do I hold dear? Also, what exactly do I stand for? It is critical to maintain a feeling of self-worth in order to avoid becoming a chameleon that adapts to everything and everyone around them. It is not always necessary to follow the crowd.

#2. Be cautious

When we interact with others, our brain works at full capacity. In social circumstances, it is critical to be effective listeners and understand the perspectives of others. Many connections are formed between different brain areas for this purpose.

Although this occurs frequently subconsciously, people should consider the consequences of their statements and actions. Self-disclosure is an essential component in developing relationships with others.

However, we must be cautious not to reveal too much information too quickly, and we must always consider how others will react to this information.

#3. Control your emotions

Nothing leaves a more lasting unfavorable impression than an inappropriate and intense emotional outburst. Emotions are a powerful tool for interacting with people, and expressing them helps to balance the human brain, but they must be regulated and moderated.

Negative emotions such as wrath, impatience, or even contempt must always be portrayed with care and strategy.
Leaders in large organizations, for example, must retain emotional prudence while quietly expressing their happiness or displeasure to others.

#4. Follow proper politeness.

There are a set of social regulations, often known as norms, that inform people how to behave in certain social settings; adhering to and respecting these social standards is vital for making and maintaining a favorable impression.

Furthermore, we must demonstrate that we have good manners and know how to behave in a variety of potentially difficult situations.
Being nice is usually a smart technique for impression management because few people dislike it or associate it with negativity.

#5. Have self-assurance

When you lack self-confidence, it is tough to adopt it, yet there are social situations that necessitate boldness and decisiveness. Consider a situation in which you are required to converse with people. Take the initiative and ask a decent question or assist someone without thinking.

Furthermore, it is critical to stand up for your principles or convictions. When you are in a position of leadership, it is very crucial to persuade others of your visions. Most people will respect your commitment to a certain conviction or set of ideas. Be moderate, however.

When someone else makes an argument that contradicts your own convictions or work technique, modify them.

#6. Maintain a positive attitude

There is much to be gained by considering the significance and use of positive thinking and positive affection while making first impressions. A grin, a compliment, or a pleasant vibe is always preferable to a negative and charged environment. Optimistic leaders will be able to persuade staff more easily and will be perceived as more effective.

Effective self-impression management is not always simple. This, like most social abilities, should be practiced on a daily basis to completely improve one’s self-impression management.

How Can I Manage My Impression Online?

If possible, get any bad reviews or articles removed. Create new, positive material to replace less flattering content.

Is Impression Management Ethical?

Impression management is ethical if you are honest and do not misuse the practice. Always tell the truth without embellishment. If you do, you will almost certainly be discovered and punished.


In summary, impression management is the process through which people try to influence others’ perceptions or impressions of them by regulating and controlling information. People have a tendency to project a positive image of themselves onto others. This is also important in the corporate sector.

Various techniques, either consciously or subconsciously, are used for this purpose. For example, conformity, an apology, praise, or flattery. Furthermore, self-promotion, favors, and association are popular. People especially aim to present a nice impression of themselves during job interviews. Be wary of self-deception, however.

Read the guidelines in the preceding section to ensure that you manage your personal impressions effectively.


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