Why first impressions matter

According to Amy Cuddy, author of Presence, when two people meet for the first time, they subconsciously ask one question — “can I trust you?” Every parent I know runs this thought through their head when meeting their child’s teacher. It is also the silent question that every principal or head of schools asks of themselves when consulting a vendor regarding possible programs or services for their school.

Being smart, skilled, experienced, or capable is simply not as important as being trustworthy. Educators are men and women whose DNA is designed around establishing trust in a relationship.

Every great teacher is trusted by his or her students. Every awesome principal I’ve met has a fantastic degree of trust in their teachers — and that relationship is reciprocal. Ultimately, trust is the hinge in which the door of a successful partnership swings.

From January through June at FACTS Education Solutions, we have our work cut out for us. During this season, we meet with private school administrators and public district officials to see if we can assist in meeting their educational plans for children and teachers accessing federal funds.

When we meet these leaders and district decision makers, trustworthiness is the key to whether we establish and maintain a successful partnership. It is not based on whether we have a product or service that has more bells and whistles than our competitor has. It is also not based on whether we have a modern look or if we are open each day.

To ensure that we’re proving our trustworthiness to the schools and districts we serve, we follow a few simple guidelines that can also be useful and easily incorporated in your school communities:

  1. Be honest: We don’t make any promises we can’t keep. We make it a point to be straightforward and truthful in everything we say to our customers. Transparency builds trust.
  2. Be the expert in our field: Our staff is highly trained and our trainers are highly reputable. We never let ourselves stop learning so we can be the best possible resource for our schools.
  3. Listen: We can’t help schools be successful if we don’t understand to their needs. When consulting our customers, we take the time to listen—without bias—before we offer any solutions. (Learn more about listening in a mobile world).
  4. Stay true to our mission: We wholeheartedly believe in our mission and do our best to live it every day. When our mission aligns with yours, you know you’ve chosen the right partner.

Can they trust us? Our success depends on the answer to this question. Educational professionals ask themselves this when they meet with us, too. Our goal is to ensure that the answer is yes. To establish and hold that trust, we must follow our mission to make educational dreams possible. That means meeting expectations and following through on deliverables. To learn more about FACTS Education Solutions, visit FACTSed.com.

Dr. Patrick Haggarty, President, FACTS Education Solutions