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Friday Food For Thought - Creating Connections

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Great Friday everyone!

Today’s FFT asks a critical question, how do you connect with others and how do others perceive you? What is that perception based on? Interesting article that should make you think about those questions. Let me know your thoughts.

A Harvard psychologist says people judge you based on 2 criteria when they first meet you

How do create connection? Why does warmth trump strength?

“Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.”

How Will People React to Your Style? Research by Amy Cuddy, Susan Fiske, and Peter Glick suggests that the way others perceive your levels of warmth and competence determines the emotions you’ll elicit and your ability to influence a situation.

For example, if you’re highly competent but show only moderate warmth, you’ll get people to go along with you, but you won’t earn their true engagement and support.

And if you show no warmth, beware of those who may try to derail your efforts—and maybe your career.

People size you up in seconds, but what exactly are they evaluating?

Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has been studying first impressions alongside fellow psychologists Susan Fiske and Peter Glick for more than 15 years, and has discovered patterns in these interactions.

In her new book, "Presence," Cuddy says that 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, Cuddy says that 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," Cuddy says, "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.

But while competence is highly valued, Cuddy says that it is evaluated only after trust is established. And focusing too much on displaying your strength can backfire.

She says that MBA interns are often so concerned about coming across as smart and competent that it can lead them to skip social events, not ask for help, and generally come off as unapproachable.

These overachievers are in for a rude awakening when they don't get a job offer because nobody got to know and trust them as people.

Cuddy says:

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. 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.


Have a fantastic Friday and weekend!

With Gratitude,

John Sanders, ACC 'the coach' Leadership & Clinician Coach "do what you love in the service of those who love what you do" Mobile: 425-830-9679

To schedule a coaching appt. click here

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