Schlagwort-Archive: Perception

PAM – What’s in it for me?

During evolution, our body has adapted to handle a continuous stream of sensory stimuli. The flood of information that everybody talks about seems to increase the amount of external signals. This man-made noise to which we are exposed, visually and auditorily and sometimes even olfactorily, seems to be much louder, more dazzling and stronger than the natural signals of the past. The extent to which today’s flood of data is more significant for us than the reflections of light on the water that showed the fisherman the swarm, or the rustling of the leaves that announced a storm, or the smell that warned one of wild animals, could be discussed. However, it is unlikely that in the short time since modern signals are flooding us, our sensory abilities have changed significantly. Just as the cracking of a branch directed the attention of early humans in the appropriate direction and was decisive for survival, so the news seems to be a signal for some people to pay attention to something. When selling your goods and services, you need the meaningful digestion of your messages by your target group. Customers should be encouraged to ask: What‘s in it for me?

The way in this direction requires all the following steps.

  • Perception
    The basic prerequisite for capturing a message is the sensory receipt and the passing on of corresponding stimuli – an image, a sound or noise, a special surface, a smell or a taste. Without the transmission of signals, potential customers have no way of receiving anything at all.
    This means that you have to deal with today’s channels. This applies to the Internet, but also to traditional media such as newspapers, radio, television and especially books. Reuse reduces the effort and increases the likelihood of being noticed.
  • Attention
    After you send your messages as regularly as possible, it is important to increase the stimulus in such a way that it surpasses the absolute perception threshold and thereby attracts the attention of your target group. A good example of this threshold is a room full of people, whose buzz produces a uniform noise in which nevertheless one’s own name immediately stands out. Only when the messages attract attention, the audience can deal with them.
    In the flood of Internet contents, it is not enough to spend a lavish design or a large budget, but you should offer added value, through freemium offers, valuable checklists or multimedia explanations. The difficulty lies in managing the balancing act between novelty and old-fashioned – a new buzzword is not searched for by the users and an established one is lost in the flood of search results. For this reason, it is beneficial to avoid everything that leads to habituation and thus to suppressing your messages. Stand out from the crowd with extraordinary size of your title, use unusual colors and color contrasts (e.g. purple with yellow), irritate with bizarre to senseless slogans (e.g. you pay for nothing!) or surprise outside the expectations of customers (e.g. field advertising besides airports). As a result, you get from enticing contents an organic boost in google results and you will be shared by satisfied users.
  • Meaning
    The attention is not beneficial, if the viewers cannot link the identified content with their existing mindset. The value of the message is always determined by the recipient, not by the sender. For this reason it is necessary to take care of your target groups in order to get as close as possible to their reality. This starts, for example, with the choice of language – you should certainly not speak to French people in Japanese; additionally, target groups often have a special jargon that you have to meet.
    For this reason clarify what you actually want to convey – e.g. what do we offer? Who are our competitors? Which language should we use? Which words are conducive? Which are harmful? The better you anticipate your target group, the more likely your messages will make sense to the audience and they will accept your offers.

Bottom line: Flood of information or not, you will not get around participating in the storm. The possibilities of the Internet have contributed substantially to the fact that everybody provides ever more and more noticeable contents. The efforts are of little benefit, if everyone struggles the same way, as they all improve to the same extent. This makes it all the more important to deal with the steps of perception to deliver the extra that puts you ahead of the pack.
PAM offers a simple sequence that can be used for orientation when conveying messages.
1) In order to be perceived, you must send your messages through one or more sensory channels. 2) The messages should stand out noticeably from the crowd. 3) The audience should be given a chance to connect the content with their mental models. From then on, potential customers can deal with what’s in it for them.

The natural limits

How unimaginable seems to be a city that is gigantic and divided into a lower and an upper town. The border separates the two like the Berlin Wall the East- from the West-part of the city. There is no exchange of any kind. Since centuries the Upper dwellers and the Lower dwellers have forgotten the existence of each other. Above the sun never sets – below it never rises. As a result, people have adapted to their environment and speak in the meantime their own language, which sounds the same but transports different meaning. One day an explosion ruptures a huge crater, which connects the city from above with the one below. Both of them shut the crater off and recognize that they have direct neighbors, who even seem to speak their language. The boundary evaporates.

The first meetings are pleasant, since the languages are very similar and use even the same words. But then it becomes apparent that the two areas have developed in very different directions. The following examples show the differences.

  • Visual perception
    The city above has equipped over the centuries all areas that are not approached by sunlight with artificial light around the clock. That way they eventually forgot the darkness. It is similar to the city below. Over time the light has disappeared from the under town. After all, they forgot the light.
    At the crater the Upper and the Lower dwellers get together. And they both say, „I can’t see.“ An astonishing consensus, since both come from completely different surroundings. It takes a while for somebody to understand that they both mean something different. The Upper dwellers can’t see because they do not penetrate the darkness. And the Lower dwellers see nothing because they are blinded by the light.
  • Auditory perception
    The hearing habits have also developed differently in the two neighborhoods. The dark corridors of the city below swallow up any sound waves after only a few yards. As a result, the hearing of the Lower dwellers has been readjusted to the low frequencies, whose long waves can still be heard far away. On the surface, the Upper dwellers enjoy the timbres created by the high frequencies.
    After the crater formation, they meet in the crater and don’t believe what they hear. And they both say, „I hear something unusual.“ The low tones irritate the Upper dwellers and the high sounds feel strange to the Lower dwellers.
  • Kinesthetic perception
    Above and below ground, heat receptors have adapted to the respective habitats. The permanent sunshine and the artificial light tan the Upper dwellers and provide an even climate. In contrast, the Lower dwellers are quite pale and used to the wet freshness of the underground.
    However, in the crater they are exposed to a new environment to which their thermal sensation reacts strongly and both say „I feel uncomfortable“. The unfamiliar coolness causes stress to the Upper dwellers and the unfamiliar heat to the Lower dwellers.
  • Olfactory perception
    Both districts have got used to their atmosphere over a long period of time. In the city above there is always a high level of humidity, which transports smelling particularly well. In the absence of light, they have become accustomed to following their nose, which is able to distinguish their environment and recognize the fellow human beings by their scent. In the upper town the air is dry and transports few smells. Since they can rely on their eyes, they don’t pay much attention to scents.
    In the crater, the two atmospheres meet and Upper and Lower dwellers say „It smells strange.“
  • Gustatory perception
    Both districts have adapted their food to their environment. The Upper dwellers love spicy food that is eaten raw. The Lower dwellers prefer boiled food, which less irritates the taste buds, but bland with a moist, wide vapidness.
    During the meetings in the crater, the delicacies of the kitchens are exchanged. And both say, „That’s inedible.“

Long story short. Radical constructivism postulates that there is no objective reality, but that everyone constructs his or her own personal image of the reality from his or her sensory stimuli and experiences. In the example above, we have performed a simple mental game that shows how our environment determines our way of expressing ourselves. Obviously, the Upper and Lower dwellers have lived far apart. They adapted ideally to their respective environment. Interestingly, however, their language has remained unchanged over the centuries. They may have forgotten some words that do not fit into their reality, but central utterances have survived. But they always mean something completely different. Our senses provide visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory stimuli, which we mix with our experiences to eventually express ourselves – in our example with the same words for different meanings.

Bottom line: Since Descartes, we have been trying to explore the world objectively. Today, we know that our perception is not in a position to provide a joined reality. Science has long recognized this. However, we are still trying to objectify everything. The above example is intended to show in the simplest possible way, how different the world can be perceived, depending on one’s own view and experience. We can use these insights in our daily communication by being aware of the following.

First: It is the listener, not the speaker, who supplies meaning to an utterance. (Heinz von Foerster).

Second: You cannot not communicate (Paul Watzlawick).

In everyday life this means that one should again and again be aware of the natural limits and to make an effort to understand the counterpart.

Polaris – the ideal metaphor for a business landmark

On the open sea and without appropriate landmarks people orient themselves with the help of the sky. During the day, the sun leads you. At night one uses the visible stars, which move on a circular path. All stars are on the move? No! One star seems to be fixed above the North Pole. This gives seamen in the northern hemisphere for centuries the opportunity to determine north without a compass. The distance to the horizon allows the calculation of the latitude, where the observer is located. In business life, a corresponding, widely visible reference point is needed.

Just as the cardinal points can be deduced from the pole star, the significant business landmark provides the basis for the alignment of the collective attitude. The business Polaris influences the following aspects.

  • Perception
    We do not perceive everything that is there, but, depending on the current mood, we filter out what fits best at this moment. Basically, each of our five senses is set to a defined bandwidth. In addition, our mindfulness determines what we extract out of the flood of information. As a result, perception influences our thinking.
  • Thinking
    The thinking becomes more sensitive in the course of life. The concepts and models are stabilizing and becoming clearer and more coherent. The personal standpoint enforces individual opinions. In order to get to a common perspective, a guiding system is needed that determines the collective thinking and the joint messages.
  • Communication
    Once the group exchanges ideas, a common language is needed. It contains words, pictures and other means of communication as well as a common understanding. Since the exchange of information can not convey the actual meaning, everybody needs a harmonized resonance space that provides similar associations. As a result, the real action is pushed into similar paths.
  • Action
    The intention is implemented only by the doing. Thereby the message gets further distorted, since individuals are also influenced in the doing by unconscious reflexes and feelings. However, the action creates that way the facts that do not match the original intention. Through a guiding principle, the actions are always re-bundled and aligned to each other.

The group members follow their personal interests. The guiding star allows the adaptation of the interests and to unanimously navigate through the flood of stimulants, the structures of the mental models, the vague messages and the diverse actions. The definition of a given reference point allows the participants to move independently in the agreed direction. Such a pole star is a fundamental business topic such as customer orientation or product orientation or process orientation.

Bottom line: The basic course of the company can be determined by a simple business landmark. This activates the appropriate filters in the workforce, which adjust the perception. Thinking revolves around a fixed reference point. The vocabulary ultimately includes terms that everybody interprets in a similar way. At the end, harmonization becomes visible through the actions of each individual. The landmark helps determining all further steps – as well as the use of the pole star for navigation on the open sea. This makes Polaris the ideal metaphor for the business landmark.

Simply attentive

The urge of further improving the economics brings the staff members, above all, more tasks, which have less available time for execution. This results in pressure that produces physical and mental damages. Subsequently the ability gets lost to be simply attentive at any time.


The current situation is determined by the own mental state and the mood of the partners. In order to use the various perspectives, one has to take time to make oneself aware of the different points of view. This is valid for the own convictions, opinions and experiences, but also for trying to understand the mental world of other people and groups.

Experienced reflections that will be ever easier over time become possible through a set of smart questions. The following aspects enable the dispute with yourself and putting oneself in the position of others.

  • Context
    A situation always happens in a certain environment. At which times (when), in which environment (where), with whom (who), by using (by what), with which emphasis (why) and for which purpose (what for), happens something (what)? Only the procedures that take place in the context should be considered. All others should be excluded.
  • Influence
    In a situation various interests collide. For this reason you should limit yourself to the circumstances that you can influence. Which components of the context are important (which) and can be affected by yourself or by others (who)? Only the facts that can be influenced make a difference.
  • Procedure
    The event is defined by the acts that proceed in a certain order. What triggers the situation (Cause), which steps take place in which order (Sequence) and what results from the situation (Outcome)? The procedure provides the individual causes and effects that result eventually in the outcomes.
  • Perception
    Our perception is limited by the own horizon. One way to overcome this restriction is the consideration of all senses. What can be seen (visually)? What can be heard (auditory)? How does it feel like (kinesthetic)? What can be smelled (olfactory)? What can be tasted (gustatory)? Through the consideration of the different sensory stimuli you receive a comprehensive impression of the circumstances.
  • Core
    The insights that one connects with the circumstances, make the core of the conditions more concrete. What does one learn from the situation (Insights) that is useful (Advantages) or harms (Disadvantages) oneself? The point of view is extended by the consciously made pros and cons and minimizes unintentional effects.
  • Concernment
    The unconscious influences become visible by looking at the own convictions. Which values will become injured and which negative attitudes are confirmed by the situation? The recognition of the intuitive influences de-emotionalizes the evaluation of the situation.

If you look at the six aspects from the own perspective or with the eyes of others, you can receive a comprehensive overview of a situation at any time.

Bottom line: In order to be simply attentive, it is important to recognize and to examine with the above questions the involved points of view. Thus one gets away from the naturally subjective perception of the conditions and gets a clearer basis for effective discourses.