The importance of looking (and being seen)

You view the world from the same perspective every day. It helps you a lot if you learn to look from different perspectives.

What is watching? See if looking has according to the Fat Van Dale 3 meanings:

  • Using the eyes;
  • Viewing;
  • Insight.

All 3 meanings are interesting to take a closer look at.

I see, I see what you don't see

Seeing puts your brain to work, because seeing is not done with your eyes but with all kinds of parts of your brain. How does that work?

The eyes transmit signals to our brain three to five times per second. Those signals arrive at the lens through the cornea and pupil. It projects the signals on the retina. Each eye provides a reduced and inverted image of the environment. Arriving in the brain, these two images are reversed and merged into one image.

But the image we see is not an exact replica of the outside world. The image is formed by all our senses, such as our smell, hearing and touch. Moreover, this information is supplemented with our memories and expectations, or in other words with the interpretation that is given to it. So we actually live in a world created by our brains.

Take a different look

So every person literally looks at the world differently. That immediately explains why everyone can react differently to the same situation. That is precisely why it is so interesting to change your point of view. Because what does the world look like from another place?

You manage a department full of young, enthusiastic and ambitious marketers. You recently included a promo for the company based on a new concept that the department has jointly devised. If you show the end result to your team, your director will also join you. He views the presentation with blurred eyes and does not react positively in the conversation that follows. How's that possible? Your team has only become more enthusiastic!

What did your director see? First of all, he sees a promo according to a new concept, while wondering why the old familiar style is no longer used. In addition, he was not involved in the formation of the concept and wondered why certain choices were made. And until the way of filming and the chosen language does not match his perception, but he is also about 30 years older than the average team member.

Now move in your mind to the chair of your colleague. Sit down and empathize with him or her. Think of the character, the way of talking, his current projects, etc. And then listen to your story in your mind. How does it come to the other person? Do you use words that the other person also uses? Do you give examples of the benefit of your solution for the other person? Is it clear what you expect from him or her?

Now move back to your own chair and think about what you can adapt to your story, so that you match his words, work and expectations. I bet your story is different now. And that the reaction of your colleague will also be different.

Can you prevent the other person from making a 'wrong' impression of the other person with an unexpected impression? Yes! You could have seen the promo through the eyes of the director beforehand. What does he see and experience? And what is his response to that? In this case you could have started with a short introduction in which you say that you have developed a new concept for a promo for a younger target group than usual. And that you asked a vlogger to shoot the picture and make up the lyrics. That had prepared the director to see something new for a target group to which he himself does not belong. Then he would have looked completely differently and responded more positively.

How do you want to be seen?

As we just watched a promo video through the eyes of the director, you can also look at yourself through someone else's eyes. This way you can discover differences in how others see you and how you would like to be seen. Then you can start immediately to do something about those differences!

Remember and associate

So what you see is greatly influenced by memories and expectations. Seeing a bar of chocolate can make you happy, because you know that it tastes good and a sweet clown can be very scared, because you were shocked as a child. Good to be aware of that influence.

For example, do you know why you like that new colleague from the first moment or that new sister-in-law immediately annoying? Your brain responds to what they see. If the person's appearance clearly refers to someone else, then you partly take the feelings associated with that acquaintance with you to the new person. In other words, the person is similar to someone, so he or she must be the same. You also have the same effect on another. So if someone doesn't like you immediately, it doesn't necessarily have to do with you.

So the image is never neutral. It has always been influenced by experiences and expectations. This often happens unconsciously, but sometimes - as in advertising - people consciously use it.

What do I do with watching?

Watching is the second part of my motto Walk. See. Change. I use it with all my clients. I put the brain to work in a different way, by having it look at situations or itself from different perspectives.

You enter me emotionally. You got excited on the way about the situation at work that you want to discuss with me. I'll let you relax with a cup of coffee. Then I spread a large number of association cards on the table. I ask you to choose the map that best reflects the situation and your feelings. Then I ask you to explain the map, in its entirety and what the separate elements stand for. You now calmly tell your story, because the association map allows you to view the situation from a distance.

You can also get a good picture of situations, processes and opportunities through the brown paper sessions. Sticking post-its is not everyone's hobby, but it works very well. That is why I often use it as a tool during talk & do sessions.

Together with entrepreneur Marjolijn, I investigated where her qualities best suited her qualities. Before that, we mapped out its primary business process by means of process modeling. Then we discovered which activities fueled her passion for energy and which tasks cost her far too much energy. Read my blog about the trajectory with Marjolijn here.

Everyone has a tendency to fully zoom in on a problem or situation. Every emotion is quickly magnified. Fortunately, you can learn to look at the world differently. I do this myself very easily on the basis of photography.

When I go hiking in the mountains, I often choose what I want to photograph before I leave. My choice usually lies between two extremes: landscape and macro photography. In other words, zoom out completely to a wide view of the world or zoom in all the way to the smallest insect. You could do one and the same walk twice in this way with a completely different experience each time. Both often of equal beauty.

So you can become aware that you can both look at the details of a situation and zoom out to the landscape in which the situation is located. This provides insights. And understanding. So always look beyond your nose!

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2 thoughts on “Het belang van kijken (en gezien worden)”

  1. Brigitte van Dam

    Fun and educational to read Winfred, I always try to be positive, and open-minded. But sometimes, when it comes to myself, I don't know very well. It is for someone else and I am always there for someone else with advice and assistance, but I should also give myself the occasional tips and compliance that I give to someone else🙈
    I always watch and listen to a story from two sides, and then I have my preference or I can find inn both stories.

    1. Ha Brigitte,
      Looking at yourself and getting what you want and keeping in mind is always much more difficult!
      Good to think about it regularly. During a walk, for example, because then you think most clearly and creatively.
      Regards, Winfred

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