Managing both expectations and perceptions

The way we perceive any subject or any event is often colored with expectations that we’ve learned. Even before the event itself or our meeting the subject. For example, the way an individual may dress is in large part factored into how we perceive that individual and that individual’s message. In this regard everyone wears a uniform of some type. Are they a professional or are they artsy? Tailored or off the rack? Are they dressed in a rigid fashion such as a banker, a police officer or informally as a musician or painter? This may even break down to where the clothes were purchased. Case in point, with a corporate client, I will always wear a suit and tie on the first day. This gives me added authoritarian perception to my presence. When I work with individual clients, I tend to dress business casual. This sets up a perception of comfort and ease. I do similar work in both environments, yet I adjust the perception to influence the customer’s expectations.

Learning in sound bites and information bits

Just as it is in the way of dress, the information gleaned from any idea works in similar fashion. As people hear and grasp onto a phrase or an idea, they often get happy as if they have learned something new. In a real sense they have. Take any famous quote. People will fit that quote into their immediate situation and if it resonates with them, they will keep it and they will use it. They will find cause to speak it and post it to Facebook and to Twitter. They may even use it as a philosophy of life as they form other beliefs around it. This is but one reason ‘quotes’ are such a valuable tool when learning the Milton-model, Dr. Milton H. Ericson’s language patterns for NLP, hypnosis or persuasion of any kind.

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." In this quote old Ben set up specific expectations of certainty. Few individuals will actually take the time and put the quote into context. What were the words around it? What was the person's situation at the time of the quote and what was going on at the time of the quote itself? These elements color the quote.

From a quote, we may build an expectation in our minds. We bolster our thoughts around a concept and form the perceptual pictures in our mind’s eye, we attempt to match the external world with our internal perception. When I work with clients, a large part of my job is to adjust their expectation so they get what they want and need. I also, through a variety of tools, must shift their perceptions in order to have them realize themselves and their beliefs in ways they are not used to.

It is incumbent upon me to manage their expectations. Otherwise, how would they know if they’ve received the value of what they have paid for? Equally it is incumbent upon me to manage my own in terms of my beliefs that I will help them achieve on or beyond what they expect.

When we shift our perceptions, we begin to realize there are other absolutes beyond death and taxes. This is the way as humans, we process information into levels of understanding. If my clients were to learn something new that would shift their expectation and open their perception to know that anything was possible, I open up more possibilities for interventions followed by mental rehearsals. One extremely powerful tool is by framing compelling questions and powerful statements that challenge and modify my clients’ beliefs. How would they know if they have achieved the change they were seeking? How else would I? What would be different for them? How specifically would it be different? Many times, after the intervention, I will quote my client, in this way their own phrase resonates back in tune with their nervous system to the point where they find comfort within the newly changed realizations they carry.

We are constantly weighing choices. Even during times of certainty perceived, all of us face adversity and all of us make decisions, even when we claim there was no choice. The fact that there is always a choice is another absolute. There were choices which brought us to this point and there are choices from this point forward as long as we do not fix our perceptions or lock our expectation. Choose the best decision possible and balance it with the expectation that the result will serve you for years.

Author's Bio: 

Jeff Schoener, owner of Neuro-Enhancement Strategies is a Licensed Trainer of NLP™ and Personal Enhancement Consultant in New Jersey, USA using Whole-Brain Learning with applied NLP techniques. He teaches these skills for relationships, personal development and change for individuals and groups. He practices in Princeton, NJ and has worked with clients, conducted workshops and sold his self-help products audio programs and books across the USA and Internationally.