For this assignment you will identify and explain impression-management strategies for the workplace. This assignment will solidify your understanding of impression management and help you succeed in the workplace.
Demonstrate comprehension related to strategies of impression management.
Review the strategies of impression management that you explored in the textbook and in the learning activities.
Consider which strategies of impression management you’ve engaged in at work, or which strategies you’ve noticed others engaging in at work.
Conduct research on some of the most common and helpful impression-management strategies to use in the workplace.
Create a 2-3 page essay that identifies and explains impression-management strategies for the workplace.
The use of outside resources is strongly recommended, and all papers must be cited and written in current APA format.
When you have completed the assignment, select the “Submit Assignment” button at the top of these instructions and choose a format for submitting your assignment.
the instructions that I had sent for the paper had this listed
**Review the strategies of impression management that you explored in the textbook and in the learning activities
Impression Management: Goals and Strategies
2.5 Explain and give examples of the strategies of impression management.
Impression management (some writers use the term self-presentation or identity management) refers to the processes you go through to communicate the impression you want other people to have of you.
Impression management is largely the result of the messages communicated. In the same way that you form impressions of others largely on the basis of how they communicate, verbally and nonverbally, they also form impressions of you based on what you say (your verbal messages) and how you act and dress (your nonverbal messages). Communication messages, however, are not the only means for impression formation and management. For example, you also communicate your self-image and judge others by the people with whom they associate; if you associate with VIPs, then surely you must be a VIP yourself, the conventional wisdom goes. Or you might form an impression of someone on the basis of that person’s age or gender or ethnic origin. Or you might rely on what others have said about the person and form impressions that are consistent with these comments. And, of course, they might well do the same in forming impressions of you. See Figure 2.5.
Figure 2.5 Impression Management Goals and Strategies
Part of the art and skill of communication is to understand and be able to manage the impressions you give to others. Mastering the art of impression management will enable you to present yourself as you want others to see you, at least to some extent.
The strategies you use to achieve this desired impression will depend on your specific goal. The sections that follow focus on seven major communication goals and strategies. Note that although they may help you communicate the impression you want to convey, each of these strategies may also backfire and communicate exactly the opposite of your intended purpose.
To be Liked: Affinity-Seeking and Politeness Strategies
If you’re new at school or on the job and you want to be well liked, included in the activities of others, and thought of highly, you’d likely use affinity-seeking strategiesand politeness strategies.
AFFINITY-SEEKING STRATEGIES Using the affinity-seeking strategies outlined here will probably increase your chances of being liked (Bell & Daly, 1984). Such strategies are especially important in initial interactions, and their use by teachers has even been found to increase student motivation (Martin & Rubin, 1998; Myers & Zhong, 2004; Wrench, McCroskey, & Richmond, 2008).
Journal Communication Choice Point Face-to–Face
You’ve been communicating with Pat over the Internet for the past seven months and you finally have decided to meet for coffee. You really want Pat to like you. What are some impression–management strategies you might use to get Pat to like you? What messages would you be sure not to communicate?
Appear active, enthusiastic, and dynamic.
Follow the cultural rules for polite, cooperative, respectful conversation.
Communicate interest in the other person and include him or her in your social activities and groupings.
Present yourself as comfortable and relaxed.
Stimulate and encourage the other person to talk about him- or herself; reinforce his or her disclosures and contributions. Self-disclose yourself.
Appear optimistic and positive rather than pessimistic and negative.
Appear honest, reliable, and interesting.
Arrange circumstances so that you and the other person come into frequent contact.
Communicate warmth, supportiveness, and empathy.
Demonstrate that you share significant attitudes and values with the other person.
Although this research was conducted before the advent of social media, you can easily see how the same strategies could be used in online communication. For example, you can post photos to show that you’re active and enthusiastic; you can follow the rules for polite interaction by giving “likes” and “+1s” to others; and you can communicate interest in the other person by inviting him or her to hang out, by joining a group, by commenting on a post, or by retweeting. Not surprisingly, plain old flattery also goes a long way toward improving your likability. Flattery can increase your chances for success in a job interview, the tip a customer is likely to leave, and even your credibility (Varma, Toh, & Pichler, 2006; Seiter, 2007; Vonk, 2002).
There is, however, a potential negative effect that can result from affinity-seeking strategies. Using them too often or in ways that might appear insincere may lead people to see you as attempting to ingratiate yourself for your own advantage and not really meaning “to be nice.”
POLITENESS STRATEGIES Politeness strategies, another set of strategies people often use to appear likable, may be viewed in terms of negative and positive face (Goffman, 1967; Brown & Levinson, 1987; Holmes 1995; Goldsmith, 2007). Both are responsive to two needs that each individual has:
Positive face: the desire to be viewed positively by others, to be thought of favorably.
Negative face: the desire to be autonomous, to have the right to do as you wish.
Politeness in communication, then, refers to behavior that allows others to maintain both positive and negative face; and impoliteness refers to behaviors that attack either positive face (e.g., you criticize someone) or negative face (e.g., you make demands on someone).
To help another person maintain positive face, you speak respectfully to and about that person, you give him or her your full attention, you say “excuse me” when appropriate. In short you treat the person as you would want to be treated. In this way you allow the person to maintain positive face through what is called positive politeness. You attack the person’s positive face when you speak disrespectfully about that individual, ignore the person or his or her comments, and fail to use the appropriate expressions of politeness such as thank youand please.
To help another person maintain negative face, you respect the person’s right to be autonomous and so you request rather than demand that he or she do something; you say, “Would you mind opening a window” rather than “Open that window, damn it!” You might also give the person an “out” when making a request, allowing the person to reject your request if that is not what he or she wants. So you say, “If this is a bad time, please tell me, but I’m really strapped and could use a loan of $100” rather than “You have to lend me $100.” If you want a recommendation, you might ask, “Would it be possible for you to write me a recommendation for graduate school?” rather than say, “You have to write me a recommendation for graduate school.” In this way you enable the person to maintain negative face through what is called negative politeness.
Of course, we do this almost automatically and asking for a favor without any consideration for a person’s negative face needs would seem totally insensitive. In most situations, however, this type of attack on negative face often appears in more subtle forms. For example, your mother saying “Are you going to wear that?”—to use Deborah Tannen’s (2006) example—attacks negative face by criticizing or challenging your autonomy. This comment also attacks positive face by questioning your ability to dress properly.
As with all the strategies discussed here, politeness, too, may have negative consequences. Overpoliteness, for example, is likely to be seen as phony and be resented. Overpoliteness will also be resented if it’s seen as a persuasive strategy.
To Be Believed: Credibility Strategies
If you were posting a how-to video on YouTube and wanted people to believe you knew what you were demonstrating, at least part of your strategy would involve the use of credibility strategies, attempts to establish a perception by others of your competence, character, and charisma. For example, to establish your competence, you might mention your long experience with the product or courses you took that qualify you as an expert. Or you can post a list of testimonials or reviews. To establish that you’re of good character, you might mention how fair and honest you are, and that you would never recommend a product that didn’t perform as advertised. And to establish your charisma—your take-charge, positive personality—you might demonstrate this quality in your facial expressions and vocal variation.
If you stress your competence, character, and charisma too much, however, you risk being seen as someone who lacks the very qualities that you seem too eager to present to others. Generally, people who are truly competent need say little directly about their own competence; their actions and their success will reveal it.
To Excuse Failure: Self-Handicapping Strategies
If you were about to tackle a difficult task and were concerned that you might fail, you might use what are called self-handicapping strategies. In the more extreme form of this strategy, you actually set up barriers or obstacles to make the task impossible. That way, when you fail, you won’t be blamed or thought ineffective—after all, the task was impossible. Let’s say you aren’t prepared for your human communication exam and you believe you’re going to fail. Using this self-handicapping strategy, you might stay out late at a party the night before so that when you do poorly on the exam, you can blame it on the party rather than on your intelligence or knowledge. In a less extreme form, you might manufacture excuses for failure and have them ready if you do fail. For example, you might prepare to blame a poorly cooked dinner on your defective stove.
On the negative side, using self-handicapping strategies too often may lead people to see you as generally incompetent or foolish. After all, a person who parties the night before an exam for which he or she is already unprepared is clearly demonstrating poor judgment.
To Secure Help: Self-Deprecating Strategies
If you want to be taken care of and protected, or if you simply want someone to come to your aid, you might use self-deprecating strategies. Confessions of incompetence and inability often bring assistance from others. And so you might say, “I just can’t fix that drain and it drives me crazy; I just don’t know anything about plumbing” with the hope that another person will offer to help.
But be careful: Your self-deprecating strategies may convince people that you are, in fact, just as incompetent as you say you are. Or people may see you as someone who doesn’t want to do something and so pretends to be incompetent to get others to do it. This strategy is not likely to benefit you in the long run.
To Hide Faults: Self-Monitoring Strategies
Much impression management is devoted not merely to presenting a positive image, but to suppressing the negative, to self-monitoring strategies in which you censor what you say or do. You avoid your normal slang to make your colleagues think more highly of you; you avoid chewing gum so you don’t look juvenile or unprofessional and you avoid posting the photos from the last party. While you readily disclose favorable parts of your experience, you actively hide the unfavorable parts.
But if you self-monitor too often or too obviously, you risk being seen as someone unwilling to reveal himself or herself, and perhaps not trusting enough of others. In more extreme cases, you may be viewed as dishonest, as hiding your true self or trying to fool other people.
To Be Followed: Influencing Strategies
In many instances you’ll want to get people to see you as a leader. Here, you can use a variety of influencing strategies. One set of such strategies are those normally grouped under power—your knowledge (information power), your expertise (expert power), your right to lead by virtue of your position as, say, a doctor, judge, or accountant (legitimate power). You might also use leadership strategies that stress your prior experience, broad knowledge, or previous successes.
Influencing strategies can also backfire. If you try to influence someone and fail, you’ll be perceived as having less power than before your unsuccessful attempt. And, of course, if you’re seen as someone who is influencing others for self-gain, your attempts to influence might be resented or rejected.
To Confirm Self-Image: Image-Confirming Strategies
You may sometimes use image-confirming strategies to reinforce your positive perceptions about yourself. If you see yourself as the life of the party, you’ll tell jokes, post photos in which you are in fact the life of the party, and just try to amuse people. This behavior confirms your own self-image and also lets others know that this is who you are and how you want to be seen. At the same time that you reveal aspects of yourself that confirm your desired image, you actively suppress other aspects of yourself that would disconfirm this image. Unfavorable wall postings, for example, are quickly removed.
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