Editor's Viewpoint

Welcome to our 2005 Technical Support Directory. Three years ago, we launched the first directory as a supplement thanks to an idea of Rodger Holmstrom, a safety program manager with the FAA, who shared the need for mechanics to have more information on who to get a hold of at the manufacturers for technical information. Each year this directory has grown, and we appreciate the feedback you have given us on this. Whenever possible, we try to include the direct contacts for technical support personnel at the various companies. Hopefully this will help you with any questions you may have regarding the products you are working on.


I want to talk briefly about perception. "You never have a second chance to make a first impression." We've heard that phrase often, but how seriously do we take it?

Consider this story a friend recently told me. A blind man was on a cross-country flight. The plane makes a scheduled stop along the way, with continuing service on to the final destination. There is a brief layover. The passengers are given the usual briefing about how they can leave the airplane, but be sure to take their boarding passes so they can re-board in about 30 minutes.

The pilot, while stretching his legs, notices that the blind man remained on the plane. He asks the gentleman if he could help him off the plane so he could stretch his legs. The blind man politely says, "No thank you, but maybe my seeing eye dog would appreciate the chance to stretch his legs."

The pilot quickly agrees to take the dog for a quick stroll. He steps into the gate area wearing his dark sunglasses and walking the seeing eye dog. Needless to say, this doesn't go over too well with the passengers that are waiting at the gate area to board that aircraft.

As you can imagine, many of the people in the gate area probably assumed that the pilot was blind. Even though they weren't familiar with the circumstances, they took in the visual cues they were given and made an assumption.

Like it or not, the same thing goes on every day in the workplace. Our customers, co-workers, and supervisors are making assumptions based on the visual clues that we are giving them. You may be the hardest working mechanic on the shop floor, but if you come to work with a wrinkled uniform and messy, unkept hair, the message you are sending is totally opposite from the truth. Non-verbal communication plays a significant part of our day-to-day activities. It is estimated that non-verbal communication such as attire, posture, and facial expressions accounts for more than 50 percent of how people perceive us. So in the long run, it doesn't matter if we are the brightest and hardest working mechanic on the shop floor — if we are sending negative non-verbal communications, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

The bottom line is you have to think about perception in the workplace. Look and act like a professional, and you will be treated as one. Look and act like a bum, and you will limit your career opportunities and damage the image of your company in the eyes of your customers.

Thanks for reading!