Saturday, 3 February 2018

Preconceptions and Misconceptions

How accurate are our first impressions of others? What first impressions do we convey?

I recently retired from working for a food van at a truck stop. My boss allowed me to put my two books (Angel with Drumsticks and For the Love of a Dingo) for sale on the counter. I was amused when customers were surprised that a ‘breakfast cook’ wrote the books. Was their preconception of someone doing my job that I would not have the education, knowledge or skill to write much more than a text message or Facebook post?

Similarly, someone who knew me only as an author was surprised I was a tourism manager and consultant in my professional working life. I wonder what my ‘truckies’ would have thought about that?

It doesn’t matter to me how people perceive my abilities but there are times it is not only embarrassing for the person making a wrong assumption but an insult to the person misjudged.

When I was teaching customer service, I used a collection of photos of family and friends to gauge the students first impressions.

One was of my IT guru stepson, snapped while very grubby from working on his car. Ferrari is his surname and he is directly related to the famous Enzo Ferrari. One day, at a motor show he asked the attendants if he could have a closer look at the Ferrari on display, mentioning his name. They all laughed and derided him until he produced his driver’s license. They ended up looking the fools.

Is it a good idea to form judgments about people before knowing much about them?

What are the problems of being judgmental about customers?

How does our personal presentation and the first impression we create affect the way we are accepted or rejected by others?

I’d be interested if you have experienced any moments when you have been wrongly perceived.

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