Why do you like some people and not others? Why are you attracted to some people and not others? Where do your first impressions come from, apart from how people look?
Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, already the rage from her famous TED Talk on body language, explains this in her new book, Presence.
According to a Business Insider article about it, Cuddy says people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:
Can I trust this person?
Can I respect this person?
Psychologists refer to these dimensions as warmth and competence respectively, and ideally you want to be perceived as having both.
If you’re not naturally warm, you shouldn’t be too surprised if making connections is a little bit difficult for you.
Kind of makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? However, as Cuddy points out, achievers tend to overestimate the value of their competence. They think that because they’re competent and garner respect that this should equate to being well-liked. In fact, it doesn’t.
Warmth – that highly underrated trait – is what make people instinctively trust you – both in your professional and personal life. And if you’re not naturally warm, you shouldn’t be too surprised if making connections is a little bit difficult for you.
As always, I feel like I’m just the messenger of something that we all routinely see in day-to-day life. Which woman are men going to gravitate towards? The one who gives him a welcoming hug on the first date, or the one who stands with her arms crossed, wary and suspicious? That’s just one single example, applied to women, but you can see how this applies across the board.
I come from a very warm and extroverted family, so I think it’s a trait I’ve always taken for granted – until I meet people who seem to lack it. So what do you think? Is there a better way to make a first impression than being warm? Or are Amy Cuddy (and Dale Carnegie) pretty spot on?
Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.