When we meet new people, we form an opinion about them within seconds . And the other way around, we’re just as likely to be judged.
But what exactly determines whether a person likes us or not?
Amy Cuddy has been dealing with this question for years. Together with her colleagues, the psychologists Susan Fiske and Peter Glick, the professor at Harvard Business School has been researching for more than 15 years how to get the first impression we get from one person.
She has discovered an interesting pattern that in her new book ” Your body speaks for you: work from inside, convince, radiate” to the point:
She has discovered that our counterpart at a first meeting answers the following two questions at lightning speed:
- Can I trust this person?
- Can I respect this person?
Psychologists also talk about being judged within seconds for your warmth (your social behavior) and your competence . Ideally, your opponent then comes to the conclusion that you have both – and you get along wonderfully.
However, Harvard professor Cuddy has noted that people believe that competence plays the more important role in the workplace. After all, they usually want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to work with their counterparts.
But in fact, heat is crucial when it comes to judging you. As Cuddy explains, “From an evolutionary point of view, it is essential for survival to know if a person deserves your trust.” Because when we all still lived in caves, it was much more important to find out if the other caveman would kill you and steal your possessions or not. The ability to make a good fire was of secondary importance.
Competence is highly valued in our society today, but according to the psychologist, it only comes into play when there is already a basis of trust. Therefore, it can go backwards if you focus too much on its strengths.
The expert is referring to young professionals who are currently graduating from a renowned business school and want to be smart and professional. This can mean that they never ask for help, reject invitations to after-work activities in general and so appear to be on a short or long aloof. The rude awakening comes when they do not get the job they are looking for after completing an internship because nobody really knows or trusts them.
“If you try to influence someone who does not trust you, you will not get far. You’re probably even suspecting it and being considered manipulative? “Says Cuddy. “Only a warm, trustworthy person, who is also strong and competent, is admired. However, the basis of trust must first be created for this. Only then will strength become something positive and not a threat. “