How Much Do Perceptions Matter?
Most of us live a double life. There’s one life we cultivate for others to notice and another life lived only for an inner circle to see. The outward-facing life contains elements such as the clothes we choose, the personality we project and actions we take. These expenditures of time, effort and money serve to get us where we want to go or at least give the perception of doing so.
Each day, these small choices lead toward a larger goal of creating a good impression but some behaviors also can create unintended associations, effectively making other efforts less impactful.
Choosing Words – From the moment we learn to speak, we look for ways to project who we are and what we want into the world. As adults, this doesn’t change. When looking to impress, it’s normal to choose bigger or fancier words to appear more worldly or sophisticated, but this can backfire. Fancy words used out of context or with the wrong audience can end up sounding strange or out of place. Your words represent you, so use ones that best reflect who you truly are and the message you’re trying to convey.
Avoiding Eye Contact – A love of technology is creating a heads-down society with more interest in what’s on the screen than what’s happening in real life. As absorbing as the digital world can be, there’s remains a whole world of real people who are often more interesting than the enhanced personas on the screen. Plus, making eye contact sets you apart from the heads-down crowd, making you appear more intelligent and respectful in the process.
Dropping the Curse Bomb – There’s great freedom in expressing feelings and speaking your mind with a few choice curse words for emphasis. All good in the moment but potentially dangerous in the long-term. Remember, there’s a time and place for these words so consider who receives them or who could overhear them without context. Each word carries the potential of untended consequences and should be used with caution.
Considering Impressions – Being busy continues to be a badge of honor. In fact, some are so importantly busy it’s difficult to find time to re-read a text message or email before hitting send. Busy or not, receiving a text message or email filled with typos looks lazy and unprofessional. Don’t let the message “Please excuse any errors in the text. This message is sent by a mobile device.” lull you into thinking you no longer need to spellcheck. All errors cost you in perception.
Benefit of the Doubt - We all make snap judgements influenced by personal circumstances, stories and mood. Enhancing our perception of others and others perception of us means cutting each other some slack. Everyone will have bad days. By acknowledging our human frailties, it becomes easier to find grace with others when realizing they’re uncomfortable or rushing to complete a task. Strive for the best and forgive the rest for yourself and benefit of everyone around you. The result being a kinder and gentler world for all involved.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire programs and direct hire placements, in addition to contract employment services.