Projected vs. Perceived Image

We’ve come through a busy few election seasons of late: federally, provincially, municipally and internationally. The role of image during an election is critical and interesting to observe. One of our favourite anecdotes to this point is the story of the John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon debates in the 1960 US election. John F. Kennedy was deemed to win the televised first debate handily as he appeared confident, fit, healthy and well dressed for the television audience. Nixon did not manage his on air appearance as effectively, prompting even his mother to phone to see if he was feeling well! He did, however, succeed in being considered the winner of the radio debate where appearance was not as much a factor. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, studies show that the most “Prime Ministerial” or “Presidential” looking candidate (the one who best projects what the majority perceive to be that capable look) is often the most successful.

In our personal and career lives, it is interesting to consider the perceptions others have and how our projected image reconciles with that. Your comments and own anecdotes are welcome!


2 Responses to “Projected vs. Perceived Image”

  1. 1 Jack Layton
    May 22, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Nixon – Kennedy may be an isolated incited or an anecdote as you call it yourself.
    In business and personal relationships appearance might weight some more, but there we address to individuals and small groups of people chosen selectively. It is a completely different kind connection between individuals. Business is about intelligence (being it practical or academically – street/Harvard), appearance and experience.

    Politics is about ENERGY, charisma, aggressively, courage, lying and leadership.

    Usually in politics the differences between candidates are so big that you never end making your last judgment or decision by appearance.

    Of course if you are someone special, like a porn star, or a pop star or an actor or football player (all are real life examples in countries like Italy, US and so on), you can eventually end-up as a senator because some narrow minded funs will vote for you, but you will never be able to run for president or for any position that requires more votes than fans. Maybe that’s the only example where image makes the difference, but that’s a wider concept than appearance….

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