Ways to distinguish yourself #156 – Manage perceptions of you

Ways to distinguish yourself #156 – Manage perceptions of you

By Rajesh Setty on Thu 27 Jul 2006, 3:13 PM – 4 Comments

I know you should not judge a book by its cover. People do. So if the book is good, why not spend some time to get a good cover?

I know that first impressions can be wrong. You should not judge a person just by the first impression. People do. They may not give him or her a chance to make a second impression. So if you have something of value, why not go the extra mile and create a great first impression?

They say – who you are is more important than how you are perceived. I respectfully disagree. Both are equally important. If you bring something of value to the table but don’t package it well, people may not have the time to peel the package to discover the hidden gem that is inside you. For one, they are extremely busy and they want to make split-second decisions, sometimes, even for important things. How you are perceived becomes extremely important in this time and age. If you ask me, I think one of the biggest reasons why some of the smartest people don’t get what they deserve is because they don’t know how to manage how they are perceived.

Question: What is a quick way to find out how you are perceived?

Answer: Watch how your colleagues, friends and/or family members introduce you to other people. There is a message there. You may think you are something but others may think you are something else. Watch what peoeple write about you. It may not be accurate but it is what they got about you. If who you think you are and how others are introducing you don’t match (in any way – positive or negative) you have got some work to do.

You are busy and you just want to get your work done. You may even think that if you execute your job brilliantly, perceptions will be automatically managed. I wish this was true. If it was, there wouldn’t have been so many disgruntled employees out there.

If I have to be explicit and clear, here is the quick summary:

Your job is to make promises that you can keep. Keep those promises consistently. And, don’t forget, show people that you did make and keep those promises. The last part is what most people are not comfortable. They think it is their manager’s job to figure that out. For once, let’s assume that it is your manager’s job. Why not make it easy for your manager to clearly see that you consistently make and keep your promises. We both know that your manager has other responsibilities too. Why not make it easy on him or her when it comes to you and your work. Why not walk the extra mile and leave nothing to chance?


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4 Comments so far, Add Yours

Anonymous  on July 28th, 2006

Rajesh – good point. I was at the National Speakers Association Convention in Orlando this past week and I found myself consistently putting on clothes that best represented me in a good light. It was business casual the entire time and not once did I wear jeans even at happy hour. I agree that people’s perception of you starts with your image and then they find out about what you have to offer. It’s sad but true.

I also find that if I dress well, I attract others who dress well. Oftentimes, this means affluent people with decision making capabilities. Interesting……

Stephen Hopson


Anonymous  on July 28th, 2006

I am agree with you. In France, we say “l’habit ne fait pas le moine” but in reality, the first people’s perception plays a great part for the rest. I read a book entitled “Tout se joue en moins de 2 minutes” from Nicholas Boothmann about this.

Anonymous  on July 28th, 2006

Thanks Stephen and Nabil.

For those of who don’t know French, I translated two of Nabil’s french quotes to English via http://babelfish.altavista.com. Here is the translation:

French: “l’habit ne fait pas le moine”

English: “the dress does not make the monk”

French: “Tout se joue en moins de 2 minutes”

English: “All is played in less than 2 minutes”



Anonymous  on July 29th, 2006

Very rightly said Rajesh. It is becoming more and more relevant in these faster times and I think perception is becoming more real than reality. The importance of excellent communication skills, personality, attitude cannot be overstated these days.

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