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Things people tell us, without our asking

Have you noticed the custom “vanity” plates people have on their vehicles? Each customized message tells us about the person who chose it and may tell us about ourselves as we react to the displayed message. “NVRQUIT” or “PO10IAL” or “FISHON” or whatever messages you’ve seen have prompted thought and maybe even a smile. Message stickers, family-unit stickers, and car-art tell us about vehicle owners too. Maybe you’ve thought “I’d like to have a conversation with that person” or “wow, I’m steering clear.”

Now, look around your office. What are the cubes, offices, and workspaces telling you about the people you work with? You haven’t asked a single question and yet these spaces are telling you – and sometimes screaming at you – about the person who works beside you. Family pictures tell you “family matters to me.” Kids drawings tell you “I love my kids, their creativity, and their gifts to me.” Organized offices and clean desk-tops tell you “work with me in an organized way and you are more likely to receive what you’ve asked for.” Disorganization, piles and stacks indicate “this is my state of mind. As long as I can find what I need when I need it, things are okay.” Every office – yours included – is telling others about the values, needs, and wants of the occupant. What is your office communicating? Is it telling others what you really want them to know about you? 

People also tell us about themselves through their clothing choices, jewelry, accessories, body-art, and shoes. Our take-away messages may not be what the person intended, however we typically draw conclusions none-the-less. Every choice we make about our attire, our workspaces, and our vehicle messages tell others about us. Drawing information from these messages, others may choose to talk with us, work with us, share information with us – or not.  

What have you noticed today? What was your take-away message?

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