Presenting a Professional Image by Kimberly Medlock

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Apr 9th, 2014
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You are a public figure.  The school administrator represents his/her school at all times.  Please consider the following ten tips, because when others acknowledge your stature and authority, it helps you be more productive in all aspects of your role.

  1. Check your handshake. We’ve all heard that it’s not a great thing to have a “flimsy” handshake, but squeezing too hard doesn’t leave a great impression, either. Practice being firm, confident, and quick.
  2. Correct your posture. If you want to feel like a winner and look like one, too, get in the habit of walking and sitting with your back straight and your shoulders back. Not only does this help your professional image, it’s good for your health, too.
  3. Be organized!   A messy desk, car, or personal appearance doesn’t exactly say “professional,” does it?  In fact, it can say quite the opposite.
  4. Double-check all of your emails before you send them. Typos, grammatical errors, and miscommunications not only cost everyone on the receiving end time, it can make you look “not so smart.”  Spend a few seconds it takes to get your e-mails right the first time.  You represent yourself as the school principal.  Show how smart and attentive to details you are.
  5. Be on time!  When you don’t show up or follow-through on a task when you were supposed to, your professional image suffers.
  6. Smile and greet others. Being able to introduce yourself, shake hands, and smile is a sign of confidence. Moreover, it subconsciously shows others that you aren’t hiding anything from them.
  7. Dress for the position you want to have, not necessarily the one you currently have. “Dress for success” is a piece of advice that seems to be as old as time. There’s a good reason for that: it works. When you look the part, it’s a lot easier for people to see you in the role.  Note:  Just because other principals you know DO NOT dress for success doesn’t mean that you have to dress down.  Go ahead and stand out by wearing professional attire.
  8. Do what you say you will do.  Be someone others can trust to follow through on your agreements and responsibilities.
  9. Admit a mistake and move on. Showing that you can cop to an error in judgment or execution actually projects confidence and openness.  When you screwed up (and we all do from time-to-time), take ownership, find a solution, and then move on.
  10. Never complain or talk negatively about your workload, district, industry, colleagues, etc.  We all like to be associated with people who are “getting things done,” so be the one in your office or district who can see the bright side and move projects forward. Complainers and gossipers like to think they’re pulling others over to their side, when in reality they are just making themselves look smaller.

© Kimberly Medlock is a speaker, trainer, author and coach for Productive Matters, helping others discover how to get things done quicker, easier and better with less time, resources and hassle. You can contact her at Kimberly@kimberlymedlock.com, call 662-893-7933 visit her website at  Productive Matters.

gap_guide_deliberately_designing_your_professional_presence_perspective_newFor more suggestions related to designing your professional presence for success, you will want to access the Get a Plan! Guide® to Deliberately Designing Your Professional Presence, which is part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series. The Get a Plan! Guide® series will give you the ideas and inspiration to do your work easier, faster, and in a more focused fashion – so that you can accomplish your goals more smoothly, i.e., peacefully, productively, and predictably.

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