I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “actions speak louder than words.” As a parent to two active kids, I am slapped in the face with this concept more often than I’d like to admit. As my children get older, they are more perceptive of my actions than of the words, instructions, and demands coming out of my mouth. I bet it’s hard for a child to feel justified heading to her room to clean it when her mother is sitting on the couch engrossed in a book (albeit the child didn’t see the two hours her mother just spent cleaning the kitchen, doing the laundry, etc., so she could try to have 10 minutes to relax with a book). No one said that child rearing is easy, and that their little minds are truly like sponges, and sop up everything the encounter – good or bad.
Let’s take this concept into your everyday life. What actions do you perform, even out of habit, that may be perceived in a negative way? I am fortunate to have a flexible schedule in my job. Working in a sales and development field, I spend 50% or more of my week outside of the office. I would imagine that my colleagues sometimes wonder where I am. I try to communicate with them on a regular basis if I will be coming in late, or leaving early and always encourage them to contact me at any time. What they don’t see is the early morning, late evening and weekend meetings that take place on a regular basis that put my average work week well above the required 40 hours. But sometimes a person’s perception becomes their reality.
The messages we send to others, even in a non-verbal way, are very powerful. Take a look at your personal space, whether it be at home or at work. Are you organized, sloppy, a pack rat, or a minimalist? Do you smile when someone interrupts you, or do you scowl? What tone of voice do you use when you answer the phone? All of these actions give someone an impression of you. If it is the impression you desire, then please continue. If not, what can you do to change it?