First impressions say something to us, but time will show the real character. While it’s true that we want to make good first impressions, it’s important that we don’t quickly judge others based only on first impressions.
Look for a natural attraction. When I meet a new person, I look and listen for things that naturally attract me to them. It keeps me open-minded and helps me to look for the positive. There are quite a number of suggestions on how to make good first impressions, which tell the importance of being on time, dressing nicely, smiling, etc. Today, though, I’d like us to focus on how we can gain a good first impression of others. After all, reality suggests that we won’t always make a good first impression.
Learn about the person before meeting them. Every year we welcome new teachers to our school. I am not an administrator, but these new colleagues will be my working partners. I enjoy reading about them and looking for ways we can connect before I ever meet them. When I first visited our school, one teacher had learned my name and connected with me right away. That made a lasting impression, and we are still friends. Sometimes I can tell that the new candidate will be a close friend based on shared interests or similar drive patterns that I read about in their short briefs. Writing a welcome letter helps me establish a relationship with them before we even meet.
Listen for values to establish a relationship. When we meet someone, it helps to hear their passions. Letting a new colleague talk freely helps us learn about their excitement and fears. We can be a bridge that helps them gain a successful first year if we are willing to help them. I find that listening to what they value helps me know how to better relate to them.
As we grow wiser, we can see ourselves as point people and enablers. When we work together to establish a successful working environment, everybody wins!
“A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.” Henrik Ibsen