The Head's Tales: Making a Great First Impression

The Head's Tales: Making a Great First Impression

August 29, 2014
By
Cathy Thornicroft, St. Margaret's School

Welcome back!  I hope everyone had a wonderful summer holiday and that everyone is excited about what the 2014/15 school year will bring.  SMS is looking forward to what we call the new normal, which promises to draw from our traditions and core purpose, but also includes new programs and new activities that build from our areas of strength and prepare our girls for the future.  We are also thrilled to welcome some new staff (both in residence and in the school) and encourage you to actively engage in our community and to celebrate the great things happening at the school.
 
As we begin our preparations for the upcoming school year, we want our girls to continue to be proud members of the SMS community and we look forward to seeing every student wearing her uniform with pride during that first week of September and throughout the months to come. I always enjoy hearing and knowing that our younger students look up to their older peers and dream of when they, too, get to wear the red blazer, school tie, and tartan kilt.  Our recent Red Blazer campaign challenges girls to demonstrate those leadership qualities we espouse in our Strategic Plan. With messages like “Is the Red Blazer in you?” and “Where will the Red Blazer take you?” girls are challenged to visualize where these values and attributes will take them in the future. In the end, how you present yourself and your presence says a great deal about who you are and what you hope others will or can expect from you – thus, the importance of “Making a Great First Impression.”
 
It is important to realize the hidden value of a great first impression and the ability to make a personal statement of what people can expect of you.  In those initial interactions, you need to project confidence, enthusiasm, and a level of professionalism that deserves another person’s attention!  This also includes body language and attitude. Your actions, which are the measure of your word, can enhance or diminish your opportunities going forward.
 
First impressions should reflect your authentic self and your willingness to share yourself with others in a way that is engaging and open. In this very busy world, when people don’t always have or aren’t willing to take the time to go beyond the persona presented,  you are more likely going to be remembered or forgotten by  your deportment, communication style,  what you choose to say or do,  and with whom you choose to interact.
 
Your level of credibility can be compromised if what people see does not align with what you do or say.  Rightly or wrongly, when you first meet someone, he or she makes a judgment on your character in approximately FOUR seconds and it is finalized within the next couple of minutes of interaction. Hence, how you choose to present yourself can easily influence subsequent interactions or the willingness of others to take the time to get to know the real you.
 
Professional relationships, alliances, and long-term friendships generally begin with an introduction and flourish only if there is a sense of mutual enjoyment in that initial contact, an openness to learn more about each other, and a connection through shared experiences.  From there, a sense of respect, reciprocity, and trust can be developed.
 
In the end, our goal is to help our girls be confident, authentic, positive, and enthusiastic when meeting people for the first time and to make memorable impressions at every opportunity. In the end, it is not just about making a great first impression, but also a great lasting impression!
 
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
~ Will Rogers

“Treat everyone like the gatekeeper to your destiny.”
~ Joel Osteen

 
Written by Cathy Thornicroft, Head of School
 
Reposted from the SMS Blog. For more stories, happenings, etc, click here.