Each of us at least once faced with such a concept as image. Someone gives this phenomenon due importance, but for another person it may not matter at all. People begin to think about the image at the moment when, for one reason or another, they become indifferent to the opinions of others.
What it is?
In English and French, the word «image» is literally translated as «image» and means artificially formed impression of a subject or object so that the surrounding people have a certain psychological perception of it. An image, as a whole image, can be not only for a person, this concept is applicable to an organization, brand, country, nation, event, and so on. Today, the concepts of image, authority and reputation have become synonymous. An important point is that the external image and reputation are always the work of the person himself or a group of people interested in this process.
The external image, from the point of view of psychology, is always very informative and openly tells about a set of certain features that are inherent in the object or constructed by the conscious work of the creators. The image is dependent on many external and internal factors that are not static and can change their values.
The main components that make up the image of a person are 6 components.
Most people evaluate a person and any other objects on the first impression.
Surrounding people pay attention to such elements:
- hygiene and cleanliness;
- appearance of clothing;
- posture and manner of movement;
- timbre and volume of the voice;
- eye contact;
- handshake energy.
The impression formed affects the development of contact between people and tends to be fixed in memory for a long time. The listed elements will tell about a person much more eloquently than any words.
breadth of knowledge
This implies the general erudition of a person in matters that are of interest to people during communication. In each social environment, these interests are different. By demonstrating the breadth of knowledge, a person creates a pleasant impression of himself and forms a sense of community with the interlocutor. In such an environment, people tend to sympathize with each other and trust. An educated person has authority among people, and he has the opportunity to influence their opinion.
Depth of knowledge
It implies that a person has in-depth knowledge and skills in a particular area. A high level of knowledge always has a positive effect on the image People tend to trust a specialist, they respect him. True awareness comes with experience, and such people always arouse genuine interest, as they are seen as a source of useful and reliable information.
To create and maintain contacts with people, the human psyche must have a certain flexibility. The ability to find the right pace of communication, the manifestation of interest in a person’s personality, the ability to conduct a conversation at an accessible level for the interlocutor — all this determines our flexibility. The same approach to all people will not bring the proper result, since each person has his own ideas about the manner of communication.
But if you know how to find an individual approach to any person, a comfortable and sincere atmosphere will develop next to you.
The manifestation of interest and enthusiasm never goes unnoticed, whether it is for work or interpersonal communication. To interest other people in your persona, a person must have a spirit of pronounced involvement in any process. Any audience consisting of one person or group of people, when you show a high level of enthusiasm, very quickly becomes infected with it, experiencing genuine excitement.
They experience not only interest, but also warm feelings towards an enthusiastic person, while the lack of involvement can become a significant obstacle in establishing social contacts and promoting one’s ideas.
A person who forms his image must really possess those properties that he transmits to the outside world. “To be, not to seem” is the motto of sinceritythat people value and respect.
The first impression of appearance, the level of knowledge and erudition, flexibility and enthusiasm — all this must be maintained on an ongoing basis and at a high level. The created image is a tool for positioning oneself in society and contributes to the establishment of strong social relationships.
There are quite a few gradations of image types, but all of them can be divided into two main areas — verbal and visual.
- Verbal image — this is the impression of a person, formed on the basis of his oral or written speech. Any words that a person pronounces or writes reflect his mental level of development. The better a person knows the art of clearly and clearly expressing his thoughts, the higher his image in the eyes of the people around him.
- visual image is a set of certain gestures, facial expressions, posture, gait, head tilt and other kinesthetic signs that characterize a person. Even the smallest detail matters, for example, with what facial expression a person communicates, at what distance he is to the interlocutor, how he establishes eye contact. In society, there are norms and rules of behavior, the knowledge and observance of which has an impact on the perception of the individual by other people.
Considering the variations of the image, they can also be divided into objective and subjective types.
Each person can consciously or spontaneously form one or another impression of the people around him. A person will be judged by the totality of his personal qualities that he shows in everyday life.
But if the same person performs the functions of a manager, librarian or leader of a party organization, the image of his personality in connection with this social role may look completely different, adjusting to the generally accepted canons of social behavior and norms. Such a transformation allows a person to achieve certain professional success and form his image in this direction.
Any organization, whether it is a commercial or political reason for bringing people together, tries to find its own individuality and compare favorably with its own kind. A positive perception of the organization in the eyes of society favorably affects its development, income and promotion of ideas.
Usually, the formed image is broadcast through the media, advertising, charity. Specially trained people work on creating the image of an organization or politician and focus people’s attention on one or another strong quality, making it a competitive advantage in the eyes of the public.
Many developed countries are currently actively and purposefully working to create and strengthen a positive image of their historical heritage, cultural traditions, the internal structure of the state, and ethnic self-identification. The territorial image includes many aspects that depend on different people united by one goal — creating a favorable impression of a nation, country or a single specific territory.
Many items today have brand or trademark affiliation, whose owners invest time, effort and money in maintaining a positive impression and recognition of their products. This is done to differentiate from competitors, as well as to win customer loyalty. Recognizable brands and brands inspire confidence in people, which means they bring profit to their owners.
The influence of image on human perception
Every person, whether he likes it or not, has a certain image in the eyes of other people.
There are criteria by which we perceive another person.
- Appearance rating — this is the cleanliness and tidiness of clothes, the accuracy of hair and makeup, the ability to choose and wear things that are appropriate for age, status and figure.
- Health status — they note whether a person is alert or depressed, whether he is physically full or his capabilities are limited.
- Common Standards — Compliance with the norms of behavior, education, cultural development is assessed. Does a person have the right facial features, the structure of the figure, how does he stand out against the general background of the same people.
- Behavior — verbal and non-verbal ways of communication of a person with other people, positioning in society, the ability to comply with generally accepted norms are taken into account.
- social background — nationality, race, where a person was born and raised, who his parents were, in what social environment he lives.
- Education — is determined by what kind of education a person received, in what professional field he took place, what level of income he has, what kind of people surround him.
- personal reputation — how much a person is respected in society, what opinion people have about him and why.
- Psychological features — what moral position a person takes, what he is guided by in life, what moral and ethical qualities he possesses and how this is justified.
The way strangers perceive a person creates an external image. It can be bright and charismatic or ordinary and insipid. But it is also important how a person perceives himself. It is from the internal image that the formation of the external perception of a person depends.
Each person may have his own goal of creating an image — someone wants to achieve universal love, someone is interested in conquering the heights of business, and someone may have decided to become a world famous person. Working on the creation of an external image, people strive to convey their uniqueness to the consciousness of others.
The external image functionality is grouped as follows.
- recognition — the image allows people around you to identify you in a short time. Its main goal is hidden in the depths of the subconscious — it is important for a person to quickly understand whether the person in front of him is dangerous or not. Identification assigns a person to a certain social group, belonging to which a person broadcasts with the help of an image.
- Idealization — it shows the desire of a person to become what he would like. Whether he manages to solve this problem or not — the image will show.
- Individuality — is based on the fact that each personality has its own characteristics, allowing it to oppose itself to the bulk of other people.
People who are seriously involved in the development and maintenance of the image, solve this issue on their own or turn to the services of specialists — image makers.
Stages and rules of construction
To create a positive image, not only modern and successful media people resort to the services of image makers, but also ordinary people. Creating an image together with a specialist allows you to choose a positive external image based on the characteristics of a person’s character and the goals that he sets for himself.
Image formation algorithm.
- We formulate the goal. Any image is a message to the outside world, and it is formed according to the priorities that a person sets in life. Among the many goals, it is important to choose the most important one and formulate it clearly. For example, “I am a successful man”, “I am a beautiful woman”, “We are a reliable company” and the like.
- Target Audience Selection. This step determines who your external message is aimed at, who needs to see that you are a successful man, a beautiful woman, or a reliable company. For example, the image of a successful man may be directed to colleagues in the banking business, the image of a beautiful woman should attract the attention of men in their 30s and 40s, and the reliability of the company should be of interest to buyers of motor boats. By choosing an audience, you can predict its expectations and needs.
- Parameter List. According to the expectations of the target audience, a list of qualities and properties that should be inherent in a person with a chosen image is formed. For example, a “confident man” conveys reliability, will, determination, and the image of a “beautiful woman” is emphasized by appearance, charisma, and good manners.
- Comparing desired and actual. At this stage, a list of personality traits that positively affect the image is compiled. Among them, choose those that should be strengthened and emphasized. Next, they find those properties of a person that will be destructive to his image — they will need to get rid of. And the final stage will be the definition of qualities that a person does not have, but they should be developed, since they will be necessary in his new appearance.
- Presentation methods. Appearance, clothing style, actions, volume and timbre of speech, gestures, postures, facial expressions, topics for conversations and the manner of presenting information — all this is combined with the chosen image and they think over how to broadcast this whole set to others.
- Living in a new image. When the outlines of a new image have been created, one must get used to it and translate it into reality. To accept a new self, you will have to work hard — only daily practice and self-control will help you achieve the desired results.
Work on the formation and implementation of a new image is a difficult task. But thanks to a positive perception, people will see a person with whom communication is a pleasure, which means that it opens many doors for you that were previously closed.
The created image is a variable value and in order to ensure its maintenance at the proper level, it is necessary to make certain efforts.
Image management methods involve the following actions:
- information stuffing is the dissemination of information of a personal or professional nature, aimed at improving a positive external image;
- cultivating positive characteristics — carried out by creating situations where you can show positive qualities in a favorable light;
- detachment from negative situations — in order to maintain the image, compromising events, people, informal groups, and the like should be avoided;
- creating a favorable impression — is to show attention and respect for people, express gratitude, congratulations on holidays;
- adherence to generally accepted values - implies public approval and support of those aspects and phenomena of public life that are valuable and significant for most people.
The range of methods to enhance the positive aspects of the image is diverse and depends on the goals that a person sets for himself, the specific situation in which he finds himself, as well as the expectations of the target audience.
Criteria for evaluation
The final stage of image building is an unbiased assessment of the results that have been achieved.
The criteria for evaluating the created external image will be the following points.
- Feeling a person in his new image. A successfully created image is that set of acquired qualities in the light of which a person can feel completely satisfied from his own awareness of his masculinity, beauty or reliability — depending on the goal for which the image was formed.
- Evaluation of people around. If the work on the formation of a new external image was carried out successfully, this will not go unnoticed. The result will be estimates of the near and far social circle of a person. Estimates can be anything — from admiration to envy and depreciation. Most often, it is envy that indicates that the work on the image was a success.
- Appearance of practical results. Creating an image is considered successful if, as a result of this work, it was possible to achieve the intended goals. For example, a man became the head of a large bank, a woman successfully married, the company won the recognition of customers and increased sales.
The purpose of creating any image is its activity, which affects the emotions, consciousness and actions of one person or group of people. The formed impression about the subject or object is the basis for trust or distrust to him, which, in turn, makes it easier or more difficult for the image carrier to influence other people.
In order to maintain the gained positions, a positive image must correspond to the time and situation, as well as to the expectations of the target audience. Once created, the image must be maintained permanently, and there is no other way.