Whether it was Oscar Wilde, Oscar Meyer, or Killer Mike, the oft quoted saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” has never been more important. With limited in-person access to faculty, we try to establish relationships and cement bonds, and how we portray ourselves in “life in the time of quarantine”, is often limited to a laptop screen.
Put yourself in your professor’s shoes – sitting behind their computer screen as virtual class starts. They see 15 landscape boxes. One shows a brightly lit room. It’s clean. A woman sits attentively at a desk, in crisp clothes. In another, a man sits astutely in a diner booth, on his break. One features a guy laying in his bed, hair disheveled, in a dirty T-shirt.
Who do you think your teacher is going to focus on? Probably first on the student who seemingly doesn’t want to be there. But not for the right reasons. They are probably thinking; Does this student not respect me? He looks disinterested…He looks half asleep…Does this student care about my class? Does this student care about themselves?
And quickly, her attention is reverted back to the other 14 students, attentive and eager to learn.
First impressions are, most often, within your control. Before logging in to your first or next virtual class, consider the impression you’re putting off to your peers and professor.
Here are some tips and tricks to guarantee your virtual learning success this semester.
- Consider setting up a dedicated area for taking classes. Think of it as a miniature stage or backdrop. This way you don’t have to worry about cleaning or scanning your area for what’s in frame.
- Review what’s in your space. What people see says a lot about you. Remember, most people have no previous information about you, so set the room to present the image you best want to represent.
- Keep a coat, jacket, or sweater on set for those times your “alarm” didn’t go off, or you were running short on clean laundry. One nice outer layer is all that’s needed to make yourself presentable.
- Take care of yourself prior to class. If you need a snack, to use the restroom, get some water, or to connect to a new WiFi source, set some time aside before class starts to prepare to engage throughout the entire session.
Life can be unpredictable enough, so why not do everything you can to ensure your first impression is a good one?
Let us know what tips and tricks you rely on in order to make a great first impression by commenting below.