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Perception, part 1 – still there when everything around us fades away

I tried today, to think of two other words that have, over these past few years, evolved as much as those below – two words that at this time, bug me….a lot

I give you, Perception and Bespoke.

I will cover bespoke in a future post, but it does seem to have become extremely fashionable of late for everything to carry the term “bespoke” – and I would ask; “if bespoke is to become the new norm, then how long will it be before that too is no longer enough – and then what?”

I have referred to it in a earlier post, my mothers favourite saying, and one that I can’t seem to shift from conscious thought; “it’s not what you say, but the way that you say it”. Of course that it true, after all, whether we are speaking or writing, we have no idea how our words will be perceived, and as such, need to make sure that we are clear about the message we are trying to get across – and more so if we are speaking with someone face to face – that our expression doesn’t show something our words do not.

But here in lies the problem. The connotation is always a negative one. At times, it is easy to hide behind the word perception. I have been asked at times “how do you think it looks that….” or “it has been perceived by others, that…..” or even, “be careful how you handle this or this as it may be perceived negatively” – and sometimes, you can find yourself so up against the invisible wall of “perception” that you end up retreating in to yourself and saying nothing at all.

So how do you combat those people who use the word perception to deflect attention away from themselves, and try to imply that how “I” may be perceived is any less important than how they may be perceived in return?

I am sure you have experienced it with both client and work colleague alike. Clients spend all day trying to strike a deal with you, or complain post an event about the perceived lack of flexibility that may have existed through the course of their working with you – or even those who try and imply, that by not agreeing to throw in the kitchen sink to seal a deal, that future business may have to go elsewhere. With colleagues, the fine balance and thought needed, to make sure that everything you say and do will not, in this world of PC madness, end up coming back around to bite you in the ass, as you question how you are meant to do your job when every single thing is so very much under the perception microscope?

In some ways, I don’t know how to answer the question. There are days I want to feel that for all the talk of “open office policies” and “we can only grow if we have your feedback” that in reality, what people really want is an easy life, and as such, there maybe isn’t the room you would think there would be, for open and honest dialogue – in case it is perceived in every way other than the one you had intended.

Whatever happened to things being seen in a positive light?

I think that this needs more investigation, and I will revisit the topic again in another post – the questions do seem easier than the answers for this one. In the meantime, how do you manage perception in the workplace? I would love to hear from you, and include your insights as part of the future post…..

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