A Lesson in Perception Management

It’s back to school and I love this time of year for SO many reasons! I love the structure that comes with the school schedule, the excitement of starting a new school year and who doesn’t love when the weather starts to change from summer to fall.

Back to School Backpack

It’s back-to-school in our house. How cute is this huge backpack on my little kiddo.

For me, back to school always meant a fresh start and although I am not stepping in front of a classroom this year the idea of a fresh start still applies.  So I bought a few new notebooks, a fresh pack of my favorite pens and I am taking a few moments to think about what I want for the upcoming “school” year.

As a college professor I taught a variety of communication classes. I really enjoyed teaching college students in part because, so many of the concepts that my students were learning helped me as well.

Notebooks and pens.

The kids aren’t the only ones prepping for a year of learning and new experiences.

One concept I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the idea of perception. Perception is the way in which you think about or understand someone or something. How people perceive you has a trememdous effect on how they interact with you. This is especially true when it comes to our careers.  When we actively work to mold how people perceive us they call it perception management.

According to CBS MoneyWatch, “Careers are no longer managed by organizations, but by individuals themselves. You will be judged not only on what you do, but on how you do it—so other people’s perceptions and evaluations of you play an important role in your career.”

This year, I am focusing on how people perceive me and my business.  Knowing how I want to be perceived will dictate how I interact with my future clients and how I run my business. On the first page of those new notebooks I did what I do best, I wrote a list. This list included terms that describe how I want to be perceived. My list includes the following adjectives, knowledgeable, organized, friendly, hard-working and trustworthy. Hopefully my list will serve as a constant reminder of my goals this year.

Do you have any back to school goals? Are you thinking about how people perceive you after reading this? What adjectives would be on your list?

Here is a great article I used when I was teaching, it explains this concept in more detail and how to execute your own perception management strategy |