In Public Affairs, Perception Is The Same As Reality!

Have you ever given a thought to the common notion that one picture is worth 1000 words? I mean do you agree with Shakespeare when he wrote many years ago that "A rose called by any other name would still smell sweet?" Does it matter much what we mean like what people perceive? Well, maybe yes to you and God, but never to the public.

We can say that a picture is worth 1000 words but that is only if we are not communicating complex ideas, conditions and theories. And going back to Shakespeare, I want to emphasise that a name (the words) used can make a significance or big difference on the scent (meaning) of the rose.

Dale Carnegie, the great author of the book 'How To Make Friends And Influence People' wrote and said, "90% of our management problems are due to miscommunication". And I want to think that he was right, maybe not the whole of the 90%, but still a big percentage enough to destabilize your business.

You see, it really does not matter much what you mean like what people perceive from your communication. Yes, a certain blogger reminded me of the saying, "the way to hell is paved with good intentions". True, it happens to us all and often the results are not good. 

People will act on what they think you meant and you know the deadliest part of it!  You are 100% responsible for the outcomes of your speech. 

Have you ever heard of the story of Babel? I mean, do you know what happened there? Well, look into the book of Genesis (Christian Bible), Chapter 11:1-9. Yes, that story is a perfect example of how perception brings about reality. 

We will explain it a little later, but before that, what is perception and what is reality? 

Well, according to the Oxford dictionary, perception is simply the way things are noticed using senses of hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and many more. And reality is simply the true situation and actual problems as they are in life or the thing that has actually been seen or experienced, in contrast to that imagined.

In other words, perception is what you take home from a communication and reality is what the actual thing or message was. It means that it is possible to take home your Own perception or understanding that is totally different from what the actual thing or message was. And of course, it is highly possible to take home that which exactly was the actual thing or message.

Maybe that is why they say; "words do not break bones". Indeed, words are just words until they give meaning or message. That is when communication is complete. But wait! Words well communicated and perceived can break bones if meant to. 

Take an example of an abuse! For God's sake, there is no impact if a person being abused doesn't understand the language or even perceive in anyway that he is being abused. But let the person perceive well that someone is using violent and bad words on him, you won't like the outcomes. And by the way, this is still dangerous even when there was no abusing going on. 

Back to our story in Genesis, it is said that God saw that people would accomplish what they had intended to accomplish (to build the tower of Babel) and so he suggested an action. Hear God's take; "Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” And you know what! The people failed as long as there was no more understanding. 

I don't know if you are getting the idea, but let me explain.

For God's sake, the mansion would seriously be meaning what he asked for (for example, a hammer, bricks, clay or water) but the helper (the person serving the mansion with tools and help) would maybe bring stones, ropes, iron sheets and the like); things that the mansion didn't ask for. What happened? They failed. 

Yes, maybe you meant something else, but that does not matter anymore. What matters is what it meant to your audience. Maybe you really did not mean to hurt her with your speech, but that does not help anymore. All she perceived was your hate and she is gone. Maybe you meant that clients are so important to your business, but it seems they perceived you were saying that you can still be without them. And so they left. 

Where is good news here? Nowhere, perception is reality for people shall act according to what they perceived.

Whether it is a preacher talking to Christians, a manager briefing staff, a teacher mentoring students, or a doctor talking to a patient, what the hearer receives is what counts and not what the speaker meant. 

Do you get it? 

Yes, you do. I have always said that many gospel preachers out here speak God's word in their own words and language and expect the church or people to decipher from such communications what God was exactly saying, but i think this is not good. People should be told the open truth and even assessed, if possible, to see if what the speaker meant is what was perceived. 

  1. Take home
The success of your communication means that people (audience) has perceived exactly that which you intended to communicate and they are gonna work on it that way. It is important to mind about what people think, see, hear, smell and perceive about us; our work, our businesses, our words, our actions, our friends and general life for it really matters, and not to them only but to us to in some situations. 

NB: Sometimes we may neither control nor even mind about what people perceive about us, but all efforts should be made to help your audience or those that follow you understand exactly what you meant in your words, actions, behaviors, writings, and general life; at least not for their own good but for the good of your business, Human resource management, leadership, profession or career.

God bless you

Yes, I Believe You Can

The Complete You Ministry,

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Born from Uganda, Nemeyimana Vicent (Nemvicx) has become what people call, "coming from nothing to something". Professionally, he is both a nurse and public health officer and currently works with Mulago National Referral Hospital. In 2016, he wedded his wife and great sweetheart, Amulen Winfred (also a professional Midwife and counsellor). Besides their professions, Nemvicx is an inspirational writer, singer, motivational speaker, author of several digital books. He a theologian and blogger at (The Complete You Ministry).

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