What is Perception? Why are Perceptions important?
We meet different people for different reasons. Each time we meet, we leave an impression on their minds. Unknowingly we mess up with some people and we are perceived wrongly, which affects our credibility. Anyone sitting at the roadside has no business to judge you or give you a second look, but it certainly matters when people in your inner circle lose trust in you or perceive you in a way, which is not acceptable to you.
The workplace is another dynamic and unpredictable zone, as we are dealing with different people and situations combined with positive and negative energies. We are always curious to know how we are perceived by others because that will impact our popularity and promotion. To balance all of this, you need to enhance your consciousness, to understand how perceptions are formed and dealt with.
How are Perceptions formed?
Perceptions are dynamic in nature. They are constantly Evolving with people you meet regularly and Stagnating with people whom you won’t meet often or fail to get a conscious understanding of the person or situation.
Let’s take two examples to explain this:
First one- Office colleague who is a new entrant. Your first meeting with him has really gone well and you look forward to working with that person. The first impression has been impactful. Since you are going to meet on a regular basis, you have enough opportunities to know the person deeper and form perceptions based on your experience.
The second one - You enter a supermarket and pick up some stuff for your personal use while making the final payment, you are spoken rudely by the Lady at the counter. You form an impression about the service levels of that supermarket chain and decide to discontinue your association henceforth. In all possibilities, you may not meet that lady again and such an impression will stay and stagnate with you forever. Thus forming an ugly perception for all outlets of that supermarket chain.
Difference between Impression and Perception
An impression is the overall effect of something and Perception is the conscious understanding of something. For eg: a person or a situation.
The impression is created with the outer appearance of a person or a situation and Perception is formed with thoughts, beliefs, intuition, and analysis.
Let us understand this with an example: Say you are invited to a party and you meet someone very attractive. It is natural to get impressed by the outer appearance and the aura of the person. An impression is formed in your mind about this person which is good. Chances are that you would meet again and decide to start a relationship. For which you meet the person multiple times. When you are exposed to all the facets of his /her personality, gradually you now begin to form perceptions with your set of beliefs and intuition.
How do I enhance my Perceptions?
When Perceptions are enhanced, Impressions also become inclusive. When Perceptions are compressed, Impressions are generally exclusive.
Perceptions are formed in our minds based on our upbringing, our values, and our beliefs, hence it’s imperative to check on our core fabric when we form perceptions about others.
Ask yourself questions like:
Am I in sync with the present?
Do I need to upgrade my mental software?
Does this thinking help me remain positive and upbeat?
To enhance perceptions, broaden your horizon. Investigate if your old beliefs are of any relevance now. Loosen yourself completely because you can only fly high when you just let yourself be what you are, rather than what others want you to be.
Is Perception an Illusion or Reality?
When we perceive something, we interpret it objectively with the help of our intuition and sensibilities. It seems real to us unless they are verified. Sometimes we perceive people from far in a particular way, based on the information provided to us, however, when we actually meet them in real life, we find our perceptions to be an illusion. For eg78 : Say you have been admiring a Hollywood star and following him for almost a decade. This celebrity is extremely humble and down to earth in the public eye, however, when you meet him in person, you see a completely different personality which is contrary to your perceived image.
Factors Influencing Perception
Various factors that can influence general and specific perceptions about people, country, economic situations, traditions, culture and power are:
Knowledge: With every new information that you gather about anyone, you tend to perceive things differently. Hence knowledge can influence perceptions in a big way.
Experience: With knowledge, there could be one kind of perception, however that can change once you experience things. For eg: You may have knowledge of marriage as an institution, but when you actually try getting married, you may have a different set of perceptions after marriage that you could develop.
Environment: The changing environment around us influences our perceptions all the time. The current pandemic has changed our perspectives and disrupted old perceptions totally.
What should I do to change the perceptions of others about me?
There is no short-cut to making others believe what you are not. Even if you succeed, people will see through the real you and that may not work for you in the long run. The idea is to be yourself. Let me share with you a few principles that you need to cultivate if you have a desire to be perceived in a better way.
Be an Acute Observer
If you are good with your observation skills, you will be aware of what’s happening within you and around you. The ability to sense the unforeseen gets activated with acute observation and reasonable analysis. For eg: If you are able to gauge someone’s mood, before uttering something, you are more likely to say the right thing. It could possibly avoid conflicts when you are observant.
Be wise in selecting your friends
You are known by the company you keep. We do not choose our parents, but we certainly have the privilege to decide whom to associate with. For eg: If you are always found with smokers in the smoking zone, you would be perceived as a smoker even if you are not one. And if you are seen with a book in hand, you are perceived as a voracious reader or knowledgeable.
Remember the names of people
Addressing people with their right names is a mark of respect. The sound of our name is music to our ears. When you remember the names of people whom you have met or work with, you extend courtesy and kindness. This invariably makes you a magnet attracting people towards you. Just imagine how you would feel when people forget your name.
Edify People who are Worthy:
We see many people around us worthy of our praise and recommendation, however, we seldom acknowledge that whole-heartedly. It needs an open mind and a large heart to edify others. We only do that when we have a selfish motive or expect something in return. For eg: Linkedin recommendations are edifying the capability of the individuals whom we have worked for or with. Just go ahead and edify people whom you know are good at their craft, publicly without feeling guilty about it.
Dress for a purpose
The dressing sense of individual stems from attitude. When you think your dressing has a purpose to fulfill, you will always be at your best to conquer the scene. People who are casual about their choice of clothes and accessories, may not necessarily have a relevant direction in life. Don’t forget People judge you by the Cover.
I would like to conclude with a quote:
“The outer world is a reflection of the inner world. Other people’s perception of you is a reflection of them; your response to them is an awareness of you.” - Roy T.Bennett.