Tag Archives: perception

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workplace silence

Workplace Silence, Does It Change Anything?

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Have you ever thought about workplace silence? Have you considered the impact of silence in your communication, in your meetings, or as a cultural value?

What about words or noise, have you considered their impact?

I’m not talking about the noise coming from the production floor, the keyboard clicks, or the intercom page. It’s not the chatter at the coffee pot, the ringing phone, or the heels clacking on the hard floor.

Words or Silence?

Silence is part of our communication. Silence can command attention, it can be the pause before the punch line, it can also signal disapproval or frustration.

Words matter. Words can hurt, tarnish, and permanently disable workflow. So can the power of silence.

Noise can be a radio, it can also be in our head. Noise in our head distracts us, taking us away from the work at hand. So can silence.

Is there power in words? Yes.

Is there power in silence? Yes.

Can you use silence as a communication tool?

Workplace Silence

Silence to express disapproval may seem like a safe bet, but saying nothing may be considered acceptance too. When the vote around the room is cast, silence is typically counted as affirmative, not dissent.

Speaking to a crowd, a long pause draws attention, a great time to drive home the point. It changes the dynamic, the tone, and the atmosphere.

Silence can exist with a smile, or with a frown. It can signal emotions or create fear. We’ve been told, “No news, is good news.” In practice, no news is often viewed as bad news.

We spend a lot of time worrying about our words. The impact, the cost, and the change they’ll create.

Is there impact, cost, and change associated with silence?

Does silence really change anything?

Silence changes everything.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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response time

Response Time Expectations and How to Manage Them

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Perception is reality. At least that is what we are often told. It is true, what people expect or perceive is what they measure against. Internally and externally, response time expectations condition satisfaction. Are you managing them or are they managing you?

Perceptions of Response

What are your expectations for response time? It is often a critical measurement. People evaluate and judge your acceptance or not by response time.

When will the wait staff realize I need a refill of my iced tea?

How many rings until someone answers the telephone?

How long do I wait while on hold?

When I send an email how long until I get a response?

How quickly can emergency responders get to my area?

This webpage takes forever to load.

Where is my pizza?

How long until the medicine starts to work?

When will the eBay seller ship?

What time will dinner be ready?

There is an important question to ask about all of these scenarios, “What are your expectations?”

Response Time

We can go through a McDonald’s drive through lane quickly, especially once our order has been placed. The pizza delivery guy is only minutes away after the pizza leaves the oven. The on-line merchandise order is typically less than two days away, and shipping is advertised as free.

Patience may be important for the recipient but it is still based entirely on expectations. Those expectations often develop from past experiences. Fortunately, or unfortunately, those past experiences are working for or against your perceived level of service.

Today expectations are shorter, faster, or quicker than ever before. We can get a loan for very little cost, very fast. Our pizza can be hot and ready, just stop in the store. Our burger is fewer than ninety seconds away, and researching to find answers to our questions are at our fingertips in under a minute.

Managing Expectations

How does the service provider manage expectations? Typically, information will help manage expectations. It may be the notification on the technical support line of the number we represent in the queue. The same is true for the help chat.

The pizza shop will often tell us the wait time when placing an order by phone and we expect the medicine to work in just minutes.

It still remains a two-way street. Push the employee, vendor, or service provider too hard, and you’ll likely find errors or rework is necessary. While you often measure with response time, perhaps patience is another metric to consider. It is the push and pull of quality and problem resolution.

Expected Wait Time

People wait for hours in line to get the new iPhone. They tailgate at the big game for more than triple the time the game is actually played.

Not so long ago a mail order businesses (today’s dot com) once shipped in 30 days, or call from a friend or relative only happened when they had access to a landline telephone.

When we expect an immediate response we may have to remind ourselves about our expectations. We may have to consider our patience, which often allows for better quality. A fix it once correctly is better than a fix it wrong or part of the way for two or three tries.

Information is Key

Keep communicating. Respond to email, text messages, or telephone calls. Provide updates, status reports, and historical data.

Expectations are guided by perception, perception becomes reality, it is all based on past experiences and information. When in doubt, practice patience, it matters.

Do you want to be a step ahead of the competition? Find ways to do your best work faster, it is what everyone expects.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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improve customer service appreciative strategies

Looking For Ways To Improve Customer Service

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Many people will tell you that they are looking for ways to improve. Personally and professionally, people seeking to improve spend billions of dollars annually. Are you looking for ways to improve customer service or set you or your organization apart from the rest?

Funny things sometime happen when we believe we are looking. Notice that I use the word “believe.” There is a big difference between looking for something specific and just looking.

Daniel Simons has provided a lot of interesting research in the area of selective attention. I’ve been fortunate to work with leaders at many different levels on the dangers associated with self-perception and deception and to have published training material with Elaine Biech (Editor) and Pfeiffer (Wiley) in this book.

Discovering Obvious

There is a difference in looking for and seeing what we are looking for, and looking for and discovering something new, or in other cases, discovering nothing.

Can you name every picture or item hanging on your walls? Have you ever said the idiom, “If it was a snake it would have bit me.” Sometimes what we are looking for is in plain sight, but we fail to see it.

Why do people shout, “Touch Down,” or “Home Run,” when everyone watching the game is seeing the same thing? Sure, excitement is a factor, but we’re also calling attention to the obvious.

I can’t tell you exactly what is hanging on my walls in every room of my house. I also occasionally struggle to find something that I know I put in a special place.

Improve Customer Service

When you are looking for ways to improve your personal levels of customer service, or improve it for your team or business, it may be best to actually look, but look differently.

Do you want to make the moment memorable? Sometimes you don’t need to look beyond the obvious, you need to see the obvious.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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Leadership and the Danger of False Perceptions

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One of the most difficult aspects of working with others might be when their perception of a situation is completely different from the popular opinion of reality. In leadership roles, this can be career stalling and occasionally career ending.

Visionary employee thinking of development

Having a formal leadership role in an organization can be a very tough spot. Of course, many people desire and work very hard to achieve the level of excellence required to not only obtain the formal role, but also to demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities.

Few people would argue that confidence is a necessary leadership competency but in some cases confidence can go too far. Has your confidence ever limited your ability to lead? How do you know?

False Perceptions

Leaders can and often do develop blind spots, sometimes to the extent that they fail to see anything but what they believe. After all, their experience is vast and they are certain of their choices, decision making skills, and even the self-assessment of their performance.

This is where the trouble begins, but often not where it ends. Leaders who are so locked in and determined (confident) of a situation or circumstance that they fail to see options or consider alternative directions sometimes make the worst decisions. Let’s face it sometimes our decisions or recommendations just don’t align with the popular opinion and that can make us either a hero, or as some might suggest a zero. 

The biggest problem with all of this is when you believe that you are right and everyone else is wrong. Or worse, you ask some of your friends or direct reports and they tell you what you want to hear, but not what the truth is.

Warning Signs

Every situation is different. Different types of businesses, different people or issues, and different places in time can all affect the most probable outcomes of any situation, but how do you know if you have some false perception issues?

Consider some of these warning signs:

  1. You feel overlooked when new challenges or opportunities are presented and you are not selected for the role or consulted in the matter.
  2. You’ve received feedback that during high stress situations you are unapproachable.
  3. When discussing strategic direction you often feel two steps ahead and are very frustrated with others slowing the progress.
  4. Team members don’t share information when they should. You often only learn of an issue when it is near disaster.
  5. You select employees for tough assignments based on those who are perceived as easy to get along with or those who will go with the flow.

Before you quickly suggest that none of this fits you, I urge you to think through this carefully. These warning signs are often discovered near the root of blind-spot problems and it only takes one to qualify.


Leaders often face challenges of false perceptions and self-deception. Through my business practice I have frequently discovered these issues and sometimes I’m called upon to help coach leaders to overcome these challenges. The toughest part is typically getting the person or persons involved to actually believe there is an issue.

Considering this, taking the first step towards a solution exists when those involved are willing to face the problems.

In 2010, I was fortunate that some of my work in this area was published in the book, The 2010 Pfeiffer Annual : Training (pages 97-106), and is available for purchase on-line. If you are concerned about false perceptions and self-deception or if you are charged with helping someone through these experiences this resource provides a great tool to get started.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+

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What’s Inside?

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What’s inside the mysterious envelope? What’s in the box? What’s behind the shiny paper and colorful bow?


It may not be the curiosity that gets to us, it may be the feeling of value based on the presentation. A social media profile without a picture, a book by its cover, and even a picture without a frame. We often judge based on the presentation.

People who are prepared and packaged sell more than those just loosely hanging around, even when selling isn’t their job.

It is when you get dinner with a white cotton table cloth, a bottle of wine with a cork, and jewelry in a velveteen box. The presentation conditions your judgment.

If people are going to judge you, give them a noteworthy hint.


Photo Credit: Jorge Royan

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