It really doesn’t matter what you think about how you look or what you say. The issue is what other people think about how you appear and how your communication is perceived. You may disagree, but environment, job, expectation and more dictate how we choose to present ourselves to the particular environment. Case in point is the recent decision of the Chandler Arizona police department and also the Marine Corps to scrutinize people that have tattoos. Some people are up in arms over this and say it’s not fair. This isn’t about fairness it’s about perception. Are the people either for or against these decisions blissfully ignorant, uninformed or right on?
On an average it takes approximately three seconds for people to judge. There are many different facets of judgment. How you look, speech pattern, body language, gesturing, choice of topic, and so much more are all part of the package. The question is how are you perceived?
Have you ever asked anyone? Some people choose to stay delusional and arrogant while others will turn a blind eye. Yes, there are some people that will never like anything you do for whatever reason. What do you do if the input is not what you want to hear? Keeping an open mind, weighing the information and choosing to do something about will maximize your success. Ask questions, get detail and keep an open mind.
Create awareness on how you may be being perceived by others.
For example, do you:
- Grandstand? It is all about you and how cool you are.
- Not support teammates? Give little or no consideration as to how your information may affect them.
- Snipe? You don’t even realize you are not giving credit where credit is due. (I know this is a double negative!)
- Not listen? And turn the agenda to a sidebar that isn’t pertinent to the topic at hand but is all about you.
- Distract? By using your Smartphone while others are speaking
It is our job to find out from others if we are perceived in the fashion necessary for our position in life, both professionally and personally. If you have children or others that see you as a role model, remember that they will parrot and make your style become their own.
Here are some considerations:
- Record yourself and watch carefully to determine the good the bad and perhaps the ugly. Have someone record you randomly. Watch it once with the volume on, then a second time with the volume turned off. Would you listen to you? Have you picked up some words or gestures that are distractions?
- Confide in one or two people that you trust that you are working on the perception others have of you and continually ask for their feedback. Request that they share what they liked and then what you can change next time and use as a consideration for change. Ask they not use “You could have” and “You should have” because you can’t change the past but you can change the future.
- Look around two people you admire. What are you doing that they do to level up your professionalism? How about word choice body positioning, communication style, gestures and all of the other components that makes up perception.
- If you get a negative review, the first thing to do is consider the source. Are they on your side are they looking to drag you down? Only you can determine that and of course, stay flexible and keep an open mind.
Every office, group and business should have a set of written standards. Of course they don’t have to be a strident as the Marine Corps or the Chandler Police. If you are interested, please email me at Marsha@MarshaPetrieSue.com and I will send you some information on a dress code we designed for one of my clients. Feel free to use it. I look forward to your ideas and comments!
Cell 602 418-1991
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Professional Speaker, Executive Coach and Best Selling Author
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