Put the fish closer to the camera!!! (The Power of Perception)

Had an experience recently that reminded me of a crucial marketing/sales principle… it's the idea that you should do whatever you can to get people to perceive you (and your business) positively. You might call it, "The Power of Perception."

The reminder came to me while wading into the freezing cold Springtime waters of the Yakima river on my first-ever fly fishing trip. The river guide was leading some seasoned buddies and me down the river, finding all the hot spots where the fish gather and are easy catch-and-release prey.

It took only a few minutes for me to catch a fish. It wasn't the "trophy" fish I'd seen in my buddies' photos prior to the vacation. This one was a wee li'l baby fish. We were all laughing. But that's when the river guide's genius kicked in and when the "perception principle" kicked in, too.

He pulled out his waterproof camera and asked me to pose with my first catch. It's a tradition to first kiss the fish and then hold it out for a photo and then throw it back.

""I gave it a smooch and then smiled for the camera, holding the little fish in front of me with two side-by-side hands. The river guide barked, "Hold the fish closer to the camera!" I inched my arms out a little. "Closer!" he insisted, "CLOSER!". By the time he'd coached me for the photo, my arms were fully extended, forcing the fish close to the camera and making it appear much bigger than it actually was.

And that was a perfect demonstration of "The Power of Perception." It was reality, but it was "controlled" and "manipulated" to create a perception that the fish was something to be proud of – no lies, no faking, just the best possible perspective for the camera and for whoever would view that photo.


It was a good lesson that many times we entrepreneurs have assets that seem so-so, or achievements or business metrics that may not seem so hot, but cast in the right light, just close enough to the camera, they actually appear to be pretty appealing.

The caveat to all of this, of course, is that creating that perception shouldn't verge on "deception." But the point of the Power of Perception is… make the most of what you got!

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