7 Tips Leaders Can Learn About Altering Perception From President Trump’s Speech to Congress

No Matter Your Political Perspective Much Can Be Learned from Donald Trump’s Presidency


Tuesday night, President Trump gave a speech to a joint session of Congress.   In contrast to a press conference or a campaign rally, pundits expected gravitas and a more disciplined approach to his speaking.  Most would agree he delivered on that expectation, even if they disagree with his positions.  Much can be learned from this moment.


How does a leader change the way they are perceived?  This is an important skill throughout our careers, whether it’s shifting people’s views from our being tactical to strategic, or from being a manager to being an executive, or it might be more remedial, but still negatively impacts the potency of your leadership.


Remember that “Perception is reality,” so leaders must deal with perceptions as if they are real, because they are very real to the people who hold those views.  However, we must also keep in mind that reputation is not the same as our identity.


Trump’s speech illuminated 7 principles for altering perception:

– Note how your behavior affects others

– Seek common ground.

– Pay attention to your language (both verbal and physical)

– Don’t expect immediate results. Recognize that perception is built over time. Modifying or reversing perception takes sustained effort over an extended period.

–  Address the issue head on – even if it’s uncomfortable or difficult.

– If you want an impression to stick in someone’s mind, offer it up repeatedly. (President Trump excels at this)

– Make a significant change in your behavior & make a concerted effort to demonstrate the change (It’s unclear whether President Trump thinks any of his behavior needs to change or whether he’s willing to change.)


There are two other powerful ways to change perception of you:

– Interact with influential leaders

– Identify advocates who will promote you to others

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