People size you up in seconds, but what exactly are they evaluating?
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.
Interestingly, most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business.
But in fact warmth, or trustworthiness, is the most important factor in how people evaluate you. "From an evolutionary perspective, it is more crucial to our survival to know whether a person deserves our trust. It makes sense when you consider that in cavemen days it was more important to figure out if your fellow man was going to kill you and steal all your possessions than if he was competent enough to build a good fire.”
While competence is highly valued, it is evaluated only after trust is established. And focusing too much on displaying your strength can backfire. Being too concerned about coming across as smart and competent can lead to skipping social events, not asking for help, and generally coming off as unapproachable.
These over-achievers are in for a rude awakening when they don't get the job offer or don't get accepted because nobody got to know and trust them as people.
If you want to know more about how to present yourself as worthy of trust and respect, contact us for a free consultation.