First impressions come down to just two basic questions, according to a new book by a professor at Harvard Business School.
The questions are, “Can I trust this person?” and “Can I respect this person?”
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Social psychologist and TED presenter Amy Cuddy’s new book Presence describes trustworthiness as “warmth” and your ability to inspire respect in others as “competence”, according to Business Insider.
Knowing whether a person deserves trust is crucial to survival from an evolutionary perspective, according to Cuddy.
Warmth, although commonly thought of as less important than competence, seems to be crucial to success in business as well as life.
“If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative,” Cuddy writes.
“A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”
Cuddy is best known for her 2012 TED talk on Power Poses, which has been viewed over 30 million times.
In her talk, she describes being in a car accident and suffering a traumatic brain injury – with doctors saying she will struggle to finish her undergraduate degree.
Proving them all wrong, Cuddy has a BA in Psychology from the University of Colorado, and a PhD and MA in social psychology from Princeton University.
In Presence, Cuddy reveals that we have the power not only to affect how others see us but also to change how we see ourselves and even the ability to alter our own chemistry, simply by changing body positions.
The idiom “fake it till you make it” comes to mind, but Cuddy discounts this simplistic view.
“Presence isn’t about pretending to be competent; it’s about shedding whatever is blocking you from being who you are,” she writes.