Monday, July 27, 2009
How often do you consider the image you present to others? The clothes you wear, the words you speak, the way you carry yourself all add to the total picture people have of you.
Once, I was bowling in a tournament for law enforcement and corrections officers and firefighters. During the singles competition on the third day I was concentrating on making each shot the best one I could, taking the successful ones and the poorly executed ones in the same even-keeled manner. (I won the event. :))
Afterward, the wife of another competitor approached me. "Excuse me, may I ask you a question?" she asked. "Sure," I replied. "What position do you hold with the sheriff's office?" (We had our names and agencies embroidered on our shirts.) "I'm a deputy." "Oh, I thought maybe you were the sheriff because of the way you handled yourself. You never got too excited or too angry." I laughed and told her, "From your lips to God's ears. I'm not the sheriff, though, but thank you for the compliment." "Well, I just thought you were trying to set an example for the rest of your team."
Actually I was and a stranger noticed.
Too often, though, people allow their words and their deportment to reveal an uglier side, one which does nothing to draw compliments or others to them. You've seen them. Because of the way they act and the foul words they use and their negative attitudes you do not even want to be around them.
The image we portray, however, does not stop with our physical self. Because I am a writer, I search for writers groups to join and am appalled at the misspellings, poor grammar and incorrect punctuation I see on their lead pages and in the members' comments. The image that creates? These are not groups with which I want to be associated.
I once saw a company's van emblazoned with "We install vinil" on the side. Since "vinil" should have been spelled "vinyl" I wondered about the attention to detail the company would provide if they were hired.
Recently, I had my car serviced for a minor recall. From the lady who set my appointment through the service writer, mechanic, snack bar employee, cashier and the gentleman who brought my car around afterward (and who refused a tip -- "Thank you, but I'm just doing my job. Thanks for coming in.") the service and attention provided to making ME feel comfortable and valued secured for this dealership a repeat customer.
How can you not be impressed by people who are respectful, polite, considerate and who thank you for being one of their company's customers?
Sometimes all it takes to create a positive image are simple words. "May I help you?" "I'll take care of that for you." "If you want to talk, I'm here to help." "Thank you for shopping with us today. Please come again."
The image we project to the world is a combination of our physical presence, our attitude and our words.
What image do you offer to others?
Will a stranger ever approach you and say, "I'm impressed with the way you handled yourself"?