CEO Shoptalk: Perception, Perspective, Persuasion

One of the mean tricks of Father Time is he arms us with useful skills late in life that we needed when we were in our twenties and then laughs as we try to share that experience and wisdom with others.

Pro tip: given the choice of discovering wisdom at full tuition or renting it — RENT IT.

Today we discuss the linkage amongst perception, perspective, and persuasion — a lesson I wish I had had when I was a 22-year old platoon leader some 51 years ago or a deflowered entrepreneur a decade later. I, unfortunately, paid full tuition.

WTF are you babbling about, you bucket of bolts?

Ahhh, dear reader, I am discussing the magic of perception, perspective, and persuasion.

Perception is our ability to “read the room” and to recognize and understand how we are going to accomplish some objective — such as a hiring situation. Perception is OUR VIEW of things.

Perspective is our sense of the VIEW OF THE OTHER PERSON in the room — the mindset, the viewpoint of others.

Persuasion is the attempt to entice or cajole persons to do something that you want done.

Consider the above definitions in the context of negotiating a new hire, negotiating a business deal/acquisition/sale, hawking a strategic plan, or in resolving a dispute.

How does this actually work, Big Red Car, IRL?

OK, dear reader, imagine yourself interviewing a potential new hire for a senior position with your excellent firm. You have in your mind your well-crafted perception of the position and what your great company offers to the interviewee — who may not actually be looking for a job. This is perception.

You have broken a sweat and done the hard work of crafting a job description including a compensation package and inserting the position into your org chart thereby spelling out the internal relationships. You have had someone check her social media and Googled the snot out of her to make sure she is not an active member of Hamas. Bit of skin in the game.

Meanwhile, the candidate is sitting there with a nice chai latte and she has her own perception of what is going on, who you are, what kind of company you run, the company’s reputation, and the nature of the position you are considering/recruting her for or seducing her to consider and, ultimately, accept. She, too, has crawled the web to support her own perceptions.

Perspective is you trying to look at the situation from her point of view and to attempt to anticipate her thoughts, her perception, her concerns, and her objectives.

Having broken the ice, stumbling upon no deal killers, and exchanging the normal resume chit chat you now have to “make the sale” and convince her this is the place, the opportunity, the job, and company for her. This is persuasion and it is both anticipatory and responsive.

Depending upon your personal style, persuasion may have a hard edge to it — imagine a Billy Mays blue button down shirt infomercial with “and there’s more” — or it may be confident and charming. Be true to yourself. I favor confident and charming, but that’s just me.

If you have done a good job of perspective — putting yourself in her brain and viewing things from her viewpoint — you have anticipated some of her concerns and you may address them in a pre-emptive manner, but she will have questions you have not anticipated and questions that arise because of the exchange of information in the room to which you must also respond.

A word on hiring

We used the example of hiring a senior member of your team, so following that thrust, it is important to have all the details of compensation at your fingertips. It is just bad form to lure a new hire into the spider web and not have the details fleshed out.

Anybody worth the effort is going to negotiate. Do not be offended when someone negotiates.

Go look at this blog post to review how to design a senior level comp package.

Designing Senior Level Compensation Packages

Bottom line it, Big Red Car, we have eggs to dye

OK, dear reader, the message is simple: perception, perspective, and persuasion can get you to the paywindow and it can assist you in closing deals, resolving disputes, and making critical hires. It requires you to be thoughtful and to read the room as well as trying to put yourself in the other person’s head.

Make it a revelation that you are the smartest person in the room.

Have a great Easter and get to work dying those eggs.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.