Management Matters: Image and Perception

The problem (and solution) is with us

When we meet people for the first time, before we even speak, we are analyzing them immediately. We observe how they look, what they wear, hairstyle, color, height, weight, and all items we can see. Also we look for their facial expressions, body movements, hand motions, and again, all the things we can see. At this point, we probably made our decision about them. Please keep in mind that this takes a matter of a split second. When they speak, we listen to their tone, expression during speaking, accent, and language they use.

The actual content of the conversation may not be as important as nonverbal communication.

There is an old saying that you “never get a second chance to make a good impression.” And it is true. Think about your first encounters with local businesses or people when you first moved to a new town. How did you choose your bank, cleaners, grocery, clothing, and department stores?  Were your decisions made, in large part, because of the first impression you got when you first walked through the door? Were the appearances of people and how they presented themselves to you a big factor to making your decisions?

When you encounter a bad experience, do you give them a second chance?

Enthusiastic nonverbal communication
The body language consists of about 55 percent of decision factor.

This means the majority of people are looking at body movements consciously and unconsciously. Body language is anything we do that either detracts from or enhances what we are saying. Our smile, posture, dress, and gestures are all examples of nonverbal communication. They can work for us or against us.

People are looking at body movements consciously and unconsciously.

For example, if an aviation technician dresses professionally with white shirts and clean slacks, people will be more apt to think of him/her and treat him/her as a professional. If you slouch or are not groomed, people will interpret it as a lack of self-confidence and presume you are not knowledgeable about the aircraft system, even though you may know it inside out. Think about nonverbal clues you give. Always evaluate your nonverbal messages carefully and make sure you are projecting the image you want to portray. 


  • Starched shirt and uniform
  • Four gold bars with wing logo
  • Clean shaved face
  • Gray hair and distinguished look
  • College educated look and attitude

Aircraft Technician

  • Messy uniform with nametag
  • No gold bars or wing logo
  • Half shaved face
  • Gray hair but just looks older
  • High school educated look and attitude

J.D. McHenry, president of Global Jet Services, has been involved in numerous aviation maintenance and flight operation programs for more than 31 years. His background includes aircraft manufacturer, corporate flight operations, FAR 91 and 135 operations, aircraft management, repair stations, and fixed base operations. He holds A&P, IA, and Doctorate of Business Management. For more information on Global Jet Services, visit

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