The psychology of perception

This tale is all about PERCEPTION

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.

During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.
About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.

He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $200 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

  • This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

  • In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
  • If so, do we stop to appreciate it?
  • Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .

How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Joshua Bell at  Metro station

How do you perceive the things around you?

We understand that a lot of what we do in life is about presenting ourselves and what we can do in ways that make others perceive us positively.  

Associated Learning Systems offers a range of training CDs on telephone and communication skills for telesales, customer service and telemarketing personnel – aware that people prefer to trade with people they like. Make sure that’s you!

Find out more about our range of audio training products www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk

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It’s how you say it that’s important

It’s how you say it that’s important. Are you aware that something like 80% of the impact of a message is conveyed in how you say it ?  Sure the actual words are important, but actually as humans we are all perceptive around people’s vocal tone, their energy level and their level of enthusiasm.

Vocal tone is important in your interaction with customers

Vocal tone is important in your interaction with customers

The minute you walk into a shop and the person says “good morning” you know instantly whether they mean it or not !

One of our newly released audio CD titles covers the training topics of Expression, Energy and Emphasis. You can find it here http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_detail.asp?ProdID=30.

It guides you through understanding that you can tell 40+ things about a total stranger who you can’t even see from as little as 6 words. The CD explains all of this and relates moods to colours !

We’ve also added a currency coverter to the site recently so that our customers from the United States can order easily, and know the exact price at the point of order.

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How to understand women (& men !)

One of the best books I’ve read on the subject is by Allan & Barbara Pease and I bought it on the strength of the title alone “Why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps”

In my view, it is the book that Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus should have been ! it is light and easy to read and is very funny in many places. You can buy it in paperback form from any reputable bookshop or online store. I bought mine at a local Waterstones, so I’ve added a link here. http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=4596507 It is only £9.99 at this time and is strongly recommended.

Understanding that communication skills are different between the different sexes is both important and continously perplexing. So while you’re trying to pull your belt in at the beginning of this year, take some time out to read this well researched and humorous book ! 

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Good selling is about 50% listening !

How many times do people try and sell to you either on the phone or face to face by dominating the conversation and trying to do all the talking ? It seems to me that sales people are often trained to simply benefit sell. And yes of course benefit statements ARE very useful.

But actually if you’re selling to a human (and of course you always are) it works much better to engage them in a 2 way conversation. If you get them involved, they will open up more readily and you will find out more.

So as a rule of thumb I think good selling is about 50% talking, 50% listening. Stray too far from this ratio at your peril ! Listening is an underrated part of the communication process. It is part of all the 2 day customer service training and telesales and telemarketing training that To Market carries out. There will be an audio CD available soon on the important topic of LISTENING SKILLS, follow this link to see the present range on communication skills topics http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_list.asp?Section=TELEPHONE%20COMMUNICATION%20SKILLS

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