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The Alchemy of Leadership Blog

Is success a beauty pageant?

Last week, the School for CEOs ran the Vital Few programme, designed to help delegates reach and be successful in senior leadership positions.  At the end of the two-day programme, delegates were asked to feedback their first impressions of each other, in an open and honest discussion.

Perhaps you feel confident in your brand and your reputation.  You portray yourself as professional, trustworthy, personable, experienced.  Perhaps you think it doesn't really matter, and others should rate you by your achievements rather than your handshake.

The truth is, for many it is often a reality check when others reveal their true first impressions.  People make judgements in the first seconds you open your mouth to speak or enter a room.  Ben Gordon, former CEO at Mothercare, and Patrick Macdonald, Chairman of Reconomy and former CEO of John Menzies, both stressed the importance of making a good first impression when you start a new job: "People are watching you, making judgements from the moment you enter the car park - What kind of car is he/she driving? Where did they park? Did anyone see them trip on the step?"

Ewan Pearson, Managing Director of communications advisers Grant Pearson Brown Consulting Ltd, and Personal Brand Expert Mary Spillane gave delegates some tools to help them become more self-aware, showing them how to win affection and trust through effective communication.

As Benjamin Franklin once observed, it takes "many good deeds to build a reputation and only one bad one to lose it."  Perhaps it's time to take the car for a wash.

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