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Bank of Spain

First Atlantic-Mediterranean Forum on Communication

Madrid, 10-11 June 2019

 

Title: “How are we perceived by the specialists?”

 

The immediate, obvious answer I guess is “we are also perceived as specialists by the specialists”.

And then I would pause and think, well that’s not really the entire truth of the matter. We would like to be perceived as specialists, they hire us to do the work of a specialist but they question us all the way. More so, everybody else knows better than us. It’s like football, everyone else knows better than the team coach.

Why?

Because, Communication is a combination of lots of things that not everybody can perceive. They cannot understand how it’s done. And it’s in human nature that when you don’t understand something, you tend to question it.

Communication is a science, it’s art, talent, all in one. It has to do with inspiring other people, with transmitting messages, it’s drawing a picture, it’s choosing the right words, it’s dealing with dilemmas, it’s talking with words and pictures all at the same time.

It’s numbers and it’s senses. And you can’t count senses. And, of course, it has to do with experience of dealing with difficult issues, crisis, etc.

Last but not least, it’s acting…

So why do they hire us as specialists when most of the time, not always though, they don’t really understand what we are, what we do and how we can help them with their business?

The answer is that with implementing a communication strategy, we help them maximize their targets, their goals. We can help them move successfully from point 1 to point 2.

How we manage to do that?

Through three steps:

  • Survey
  • Strategy
  • Message

And adding the spice of: instinct, authenticity, inspiration, empathy.

I have used the word perception on many occasions.

“Esse is percipi” which means, “to be is to be perceived” (Socrates in Plato’s dialogue Theaetatus). Through Socrates, Plato is making the point that we cannot rely on our senses to define reality. Otherwise, the things madmen see are just as real as the things we see. The difference is that we know that the perceptions that occur in madness are false. Consideration of this was the starting point that led to Descartes’ famous aphorism “I think, therefore I am”.

From my experience, communication is perception. It’s who we are in the sense of who we want others to perceive us as being. To do that, we use techniques and that’s why we are specialists in what we do. Let’s not forget that for 500 years we “knew” that the Earth was flat, now we know it is round.

I’ve grown up to believe, and I guess most people here in this room, in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny – I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones though that look like wrinkled lemurs. That is perception, that is picture, that is feeling, that is creating a long lasting belief, thought and feeling.

To sum up, Benjamin Franklin once said, “We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel and the actions we allow ourselves to perform”.

All these is the cause and result of Communication and the beliefs we share with others depending on our Culture. Before that it’s the science of life, Biology.

 

Thank you.

A.S./ Madrid/June 2019