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Aaron Rodriguez COMM 1311.

08 1/31/18

Perception: JQ #1

Whether you are aware of it or not, your mind is constantly in a state of over-analyzing

the influx of information that in some way or form has found itself in the vicinity of your senses.

As basic communicators in a world that is constantly receiving and sending messages, anyone

would gladly leap towards the first chance of getting ahead of those messages. Perception, which

in laymen terms simply means the arousal of any of our senses (BEEBE, 2013), is the ultimate

tool when trying to get ahead. The only problem with such a tool is that just like any message,

verbal or nonverbal, the meaning can be far more than what is understood. While perception is

vital when adapting and preparing one for an encounter with another person, we must recognize

that when used incorrectly the perception one has of another can be manipulated and such

inaccurate assumptions about that person can cause deepening consequences in the long run.

Like any action that requires our senses, the first stage of perception stimulates a specific

sense that dominates our attention. That attention then chooses to hold on to certain information

we deem useful through the action of selection. The selections we make are then organized in a

way only our brains would recognize which then leads us to create an assumption or in our

minds an understanding about a person before either one of us has said a word. This is

perception. As I had mention before, perception is simply the arousal of any of our senses. This

in essence means that something or someone, such as the similar smell of cologne your dad used

to wear or the resemblance of an ex-girlfriend, causes a trigger that enables you to not only attain

your attention but form a perception without the slightest bit of knowledge about that person.

While many would claim that they would never “judge a book by its cover,” I have also been

subject to perception which was bluntly evident when I found myself despising a fellow student

athlete because he resembled a childhood rival that I never seemed to be able to beat. Just like
Aaron Rodriguez COMM 1311.08 1/31/18

me, this stage is one that most people partake in through their visual senses and as individuals it

is the one we seem to value the most. This stage is intrinsically connected with first impressions.

First impressions are not something many of us talk about but when dealing with perception it is

in fact the first thing that a receiver pays attention to. As a sender myself, I value a first

impression just like anyone else would. I go out of my way to ensure that when meeting someone

for the first time, I not only have on my best attire but that every element of myself whether that

be my appearance, my smell, and even my stance; is the absolute best I have to offer. If I had to

guess the perception people conclude about me through a first impression is that I am a confident

young man who not only practices good hygiene but has one of those faces that says, “It’s okay,

you can trust me”.

While I express much pride in my so called first impression, there are many ways to

stimulate such impressions towards people especially regarding certain occasions and specific

environments. For example, one of the most important places that require such immaculate first

impressions would be none of than the workplace. Whether it’s an interview you are attending or

you have been working there for years, the workplace is the one area that your first impression is

the foundation to who you are for that company and how your fellow employees see you. One of

the many things I do to express confidence and trust is my handshake. It is one of the first things

you do when entering an interview and even though some people don’t mention it, it is also a

vital element when meeting a superior or new clients. A firm handshake not only exhibits

confidence to your fellow man but it also nonverbally expresses a mutual respect between both

parties. Another great tool I use when trying to make a good impression is my facial cues. I want

people to not only see me as confident but to also see me as open and trustworthy. Such a first

impression can be achieved through pleasant and positive facial cues. A smile not only
Aaron Rodriguez COMM 1311.08 1/31/18

stimulates trustworthiness but it also lets the receiver know that you are engaged and open for a

friendly discussion. Lastly, first impressions, especially those in the workplace, are imperative to

verbal communication. As a graphic designer, I have to work with clients and translate their

vision into reality. This requires a great deal of communication. As the sender in this scenario, I

make sure to use words that not only make the receiver feel a part of the solution but I also use

words like dependable, guaranteed, or certified in order to stimulate a perception of trust and

confidence between the client and me.

Even after all of these elements are taken into consideration, the message we are trying to

send is not always the message the receiver gets. These moments are those that anyone who is

meeting someone new for the first-time dreads to experience. It is the moment a first impression

is translated incorrectly for the receiver and instead of seeing you as a confident and trustworthy

individual, they end up seeing you as egotistical and vain. This type of moment was one I

encountered not so long ago. After a couple years, my good friend Jonathon sat down with me

and said, “You know when we first met, I instantly didn’t like you.” While the statement baffled

me, I went ahead and asked him why. He went on to mention that while I thought I was carrying

myself with confidence, he saw a young teen who walked like he owned the world. This was

brought out because of a bad experience he had had with one of his sister’s ex boyfriends. He

even said that after we got to talking for the first time, much of what I said wasn’t registering to

him. My use of “formal” grammar only heighten his already hindered perception of me because

what I didn’t know was that he had dealt with “educated” people who had crushed his musical

dreams in high school. Without me knowing, the first impression I thought had gone so well

suddenly didn’t feel as concrete as I thought it was. Jonathon’s experiences had already hindered
Aaron Rodriguez COMM 1311.08 1/31/18

my first impression and because of such bad experiences that he had encountered throughout his

life, a bias was creating without either one of us knowing.

My friend’s revelation not only made me realize how the things that we go through

stimulate our perceptions but it also gave me a revelation of my own. I can go out of my way and

reenact all the things I mentioned before. I can perfect my stance, use friendly facial cues,

verbally insinuate trust, and even clean up my image; but two things are subject to happen. I can

receive the first impression I’ve worked so hard for. The one that sees me the way I want to be

seen or the bias some of us have created in our minds can completely manipulate my efforts as

something they are not. The first scenario is the one we all want. It’s the one that will stimulate a

conversation worth having. In this case not only will my pleasantries be received and understood

but the friendliness among us will be given and reciprocated. It’s this perception, were the

receiver sees your friendly facial cues, digests your trustworthy verbal use, and acknowledges

your effort as a human being; that the receiver can communicate with you the same way you

have impressed on them. But one cannot forget about the other scenario. The bias of perception

is one that without a word even said, the conversation between sender and receiver is over before

it even began. If some sort of communication does come from such an impression, it is a

conversation that the receiver makes quite apparent they wished was over.

Perception is everywhere. It is an entity like no other and even after all this conceptual

talk about first impressions, we will continue to select and make assumption about people before

anything is said. Yes, perception is quite hard to control but it is in essence a part of who we are

as individuals. This mere action of the arousal of our senses is one we will continue to have and

as a sender, I will continue to not only try to perfect the impressions I leave on people but to

make better perceptions about those I see through my day to day.


Aaron Rodriguez COMM 1311.08 1/31/18

Work Cited

Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Ivy, D. K. (2016). Communication: Principles for A Lifetime.

Boston: Pearson.