Making a Good Impression: Presenting Yourself

Alison SkymesIn the start of a new series, Alison Skymes looks at ways of making a good impression, starting with the 7 different facets of presenting yourself. The interesting thing for me is that they don't have much to do with ICT as such, they're fairly generic points. You might like to discuss them with your students.

Hi, and thanks to Terry for the opportunity to share with you a few of my thoughts on the subject. I'm assuming that you don't have a lot of time on your hands (who would, in these days of initiative overload?), so I will be brief and to the point.

  1. Let's start with generic stuff. You're a professional, right? Guys, that means no turning up in jeans. Gals, save the party top for the weekend. Sorry if this ain't politically correct, but you have a choice: self-expression or a career path. Your decision.

  2. Presentation isn't only about your clothes. When was the last time you had your hair seen to? If you look like a mess, don't expect anyone to regard you as leadership material, unless you're incredibly lucky.

  3. Presentation is about more than just your appearance. It covers communication too: emails need to be polite and carefully written -- and spell-checked. The signature should have your name, title and contact details, not some quasi-religious proverb you found in a fortune cookie. Your letters/memos/posters should be spell-checked too.

  4. On the subject of memos and so on, no hand-written notes, ideally. But even if you have to, write them on headed paper. You're an ed tech guru, right? It shouldn't be rocket science for you to design a template and print off a stack of blank memo sheets. It's all part of what the marketing pundits call "branding".

  5. How do you come across when you talk to your co-workers in the staffroom? Knowledgeable? Quietly confident? A geek? If people can't understand you, they won't promote you. If people think you're patronising them, they won't want you in a position of power and influence where you can make them look like an idiot.

  6. Same with manuals and help sheets, posters and all that sort of thing. First of all you got to produce them. Then you better make them readable. If the best you can do is something that reads like it was written by a geek for whom English is his third language, get someone else to write it for you. That's known as "outsourcing", by the way.

  7. Always, but always, have some pertinent facts at your fingertips. It's a lot easier than you might think.

Feel free to comment. But use a spell-checker before hitting the Send button!