Reality in Question
Jul 27, 2009
I attended my first motivational seminar last week. It was sponsored by our local Chamber of Commerce, geared towards women in the workplace. So, I thought it would be a great outing for the female senior account managers of my team. Of course, the senior AMs are so busy that I could only round up two to go with me.
The main subject for the presentation was the top five ways to change your life from “Be a Sponge” (#1) to “Connect with People” (#5). Okay, they do seem a bit simple, but luckily the speaker, Merge Gupta-Sunderji, was very charismatic (I think a requirement for most motivational speakers) and had a few great stories to back up these life lesson.
One side story pertained to lesson #3: “Believe in Yourself” or the self-fulfilling prophecy. Back in the 1960’s Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson were two researchers who set up a little experiment of a phenomenon now known as the Pygmalion effect. At the beginning of the school year, they went into a classroom and gave all the students an IQ test. They told the teachers the names of students who, on the basis of the test, would excel that year. You can guess where this is going. The list they were given were not the ones with the highest IQs, but a list of randomly picked students.
The surprise finding was at year’s end when the IQ test was given again and the randomly chosen students IQ scores had increased significantly. Not only that, the teachers rated them as better behaved, friendlier and more intellectually curious than the other students. The morale of this story is whatever cliché you use, perception is reality, you get what you expect.
As a digital marketing agency, we constantly wrestle with this…what is the audience’s perception of this product, this service, this brand. How can we communicate with them to enhance it, change it, craft it…basically how can we control it. It can be illusive, but with the right messaging and the right medium, you become the influencer. The important thing is to stay on top of it. Turn your back and someone else may take the reins and tell your audience that their product or service is better, more cost effective and yes, even smarter than you.