First Impressions are often the most important ones. For most, the first impressions individuals present to others greatly influences how they are treated and viewed in everyday life. The First Star Greater Washington Academy had the opportunity to meet in February to explore first impressions, professionalism and self-branding. Working with our Deloitte partners, we created an interactive workshop to explore this topic. The students listened to mock introductions and looked at internet profiles to give their own first impressions of others before looking at themselves and creating their own brand.
Students arrived around 9:30 and enjoyed breakfast. Once we were all together, our Deloitte volunteers and Mentors checked in with the students about academics, as well as, family and friend relationships. Everyone was excited to be reunited and have the chance to catch up.
We then broke into small groups to review vocabulary and study with FSGWA mentors, Deloitte volunteers, and each other before the quizzes. Once the quizzes were completed, students moved into groups of three or four with a mentor to begin the workshop. Because Deloitte brought so many volunteers, we were able to have some groups of two and even one on one support with individual youth.
Our Deloitte Partners jumped right in to explain the ground rules and then asked the students what they hoped to learn from the workshop. After eveyone had a chance to relate what they wanted to learn, each presenter gave a short introduction about themselves. Positive and negative examples were explored and analyzed. The students gave feedback about what they observed, what seemed professional, and what could be improved.
Then, everyone went through their views concerning professionalism, why it is important, and how it translates into first impressions. We watched a short clip of famous Hollywood stars, successful business leaders, sports stars, and government officials give an overview of the reasons why professional conduct was essential to their success. Before beginning individual work, everyone gave feedback on the video and watched a second short compilation of the “worst interviews” shown in movies and television shows as playful examples of how not to conduct yourself.
In the small groups, the youth completed a worksheet about themselves and what they see in each other. They first looked at themselves and analyzed their strengths and weaknesses. Then they discussed their target audience. For some the target audience was a college admissions counselor, for others an internship interview. In all the different scenarios, we explored what skills and experience were required to be successful in that hypothetical situation. Everyone took turns participating in mock interviews and listening to feedback.
At the end of the workshop, we discussed why physical appearance was important and showed pictures of famous people in professional attire. The youth brought up questions about dress code. What to wear in particular situations and more detailed explanations of why they couldn’t wear certain clothing ensued. Our previous workshop with the Sara Start Fund, “Dress for Success,” helped inform this discussion.
We broke for lunch and birthday celebrations, then gathered to give feedback to our Deloitte partners about the workshop. How did everyone feel about the workshop? What did they like, or what would they like to see different in future workshops. We also brainstormed about what topics they would like to cover in future Monthly Meetings and the 2016 Summer Immersion.
At the end of the day, everyone gathered their belongings and said their goodbyes before heading home around 3:00pm. Everyone gained confidence from reviewing their strengths. I can’t wait to see everyone again and have our Deloitte friends back in March to look at Resumes and first impressions on paper.
With warmth and compassion,