Perception vs projection...

It’s what is on the outside that counts. Perception v projection

This is the second extract from my talk at Humans Under Management. This part is about understanding how your feelings can be perceived by others and why it’s so important to take some time to prepare before meetings.

For humans, happiness is found in connections. We, as practising advisers are in the people business and the connections you make with the people all around you are going to influence how they feel. This means that we must be wholly aware of our own happiness, how we are feeling and the projection of energy we give out.

It is therefore important to understand how your happiness affects and impacts on what you do, as well as how it affects and impacts on others. This goes for staff, family, clients, prospects, everyone really.

In one of the companies I worked for previously, there was a senior manager whose bad moods could have a significantly negative impact on the staff within the office. You could feel it when he walked in and the ripple effect filtered throughout the office for the rest of the day. You can imagine that when those staff picked up the phone, they weren’t in the most jovial of moods. Did this have an impact on the way they engaged with clients calling? It’s hard to believe it didn’t.

What I learnt there was that projecting happiness, warmth, empathy, positivity can have a massive impact. You can’t be sure what the next client call is going to be about. As a financial planner, the client could be calling about a windfall or a death, an inheritance or a divorce and so they are likely to be looking to you for support, guidance and clarity. Whoever answers the phone should be aware of this responsibility.

It’s easy to get bogged down in our own minutia, caught up in what’s going on in our own world at any given moment, of course it is. But try to be mindful of your outward projection.

From day 1 we set out to build Engage to be forward-thinking, to encourage positive energy for staff by offering flexible working hours, no holiday limits, a relaxed dress code. Now this is easier for a small business, but we wanted to empower our staff and/or our outsourced partners to live and enjoy their lives as much as they can. The idea was to embody positivity in everything we do and then this, in turn, would be passed on to the families we look after.

Here is a routine I use prior to meetings to make sure I’m in the right frame of mind. 

Before any client meeting, I take at least 10 minutes with no phone, no email, no distractions - to focus wholly on who I’m going to see.

If I’m travelling to a meeting – I will try to leave around 20 minutes early. There could be traffic, there could be train delays or issues you can’t foresee and so this extra time allows me to reflect and focus before a meeting without the stress and anxiety that running late can cause. Those negative emotions are not the best way to start a personal interaction. Especially when you may only see a client face to face one or two times a year.

Where possible, take your time and be mindful of making each and every interaction a positive one.