Changing Perceptions

We’re often so blind. Our demand for the credentialed so colors our perception of believability, that we wouldn’t recognize God if he appeared within us.” -Unknown.

A man and a woman stand in your living room.   They have come to your home to give you a bid on what they will charge you to clean your home.  They appear to be in their early 50’s.  Quite a bit older than you and your spouse.  Much too old to effectively clean your home, right?  What is your perception of them? 


A woman stands before me.  She is weak with fatigue, she has lost all of her hair from chemotherapy.  Is my perception that she is losing her fight or winning it?

This is the definition of perception from “Process by which people translate sensory impressions into a coherent and unified view of the world around them. Though necessarily based on incomplete and unverified (or unreliable) information, perception is ‘the reality’ and guides human behavior in general.”  Perception is the reality.

If we believe that people see us in a certain unfavorable light, whose responsibility is it to change the perception.  I have had this talk with my children before.  In each instance I brought to their attention that some may view their actions as immature or unfavorable.  Their reactions were the same.  “That’s their problem”.  Perhaps.  The person came to that conclusion based on only a small bit of information.  Maybe one act or a few spoken words and that should hardly define a person, right?  So, the responsibility is on the perceiver.  Or is it?  

If I am trying to get a potential clients’ business but I think that they may be questioning my ability to do the job, I have a choice.  I can say, “That’s their problem.”, but the reality is that I would very much like this job.  Therefore, the responsibility is on me to change that person’s perception.  By speaking knowledgeably about the practices, methods and techniques of cleaning (seriously, you don’t want to get me started).  By expressing knowledge of current green cleaning technologies, or by anecdotally relaying my experience, I can change that person’s perception. 

Yes, we should always be open to seeing more than what we view with our eyes.  I shouldn’t judge the person standing on the corner begging for change.  Too often, I’m ashamed to say, I do.  But do I know what circumstances brought him or her there?  Would that extra bit of information change my perception of them?  Perhaps.

I think, in business, we should not be so full of ourselves as to say, “That’s their problem”.  None of us has so much work that we can afford to put the onus of perception change on the client or potential client.

How can you change someone’s perception of you? 


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