Ever felt like you were being judged and you wonder why is it that they can’t seem to get along with you? We’ve all been in that situation where you might be a new-comer in a company or a new person introduced into your friend’s groupie and it turns into an awkward ride.
But just remember these 2 important things that people judge you on first impressions and you’ll be scoring points faster than consecutive bonus tunnel hits in a pinball game. People value trustworthiness and respectability. If you fail to appeal to these two qualities, there is no new friend to make at the end of the day.
Why Do People Value Trustworthiness
Harvard School Professor Amy Cuddy said that although competence is an important factor, people would evaluate you based on trustworthiness from the get-go due to our survival instincts. “From an evolutionary perspective, it is more crucial to our survival to know whether a person deserves our trust.”
And by putting things into perspective, it does really make sense. Think about the cavemen days as it was all the more important to find out whether your partner was cunning enough to steal all your valuables when you’re not looking than whether he was competent enough to make a fire.
Why Do People Look Out For Respectability
The saying that goes “respect needs to be earned,” has more meaning than you’d have thought. And respect has to do with whether you can keep to your promises, do what you’ve been expected to do and to be truthful at all times. Breaking any of these three will jeopardise the respect that people might have of you.
But when meeting people for the first time, we get too anxious on wanting to win trust in by revealing all of our competences in that limited timeframe of being in their presence. In this case, Cuddy had warned that focusing on winning people’s respect without gaining their trust can backfire as you might come across as manipulative.
Five Practical Ways You Can Enhance Your Trustworthiness and Respectability
So how exactly can we win the trust and respect from people during first impressions? Here are 5 practical ways that you can apply in any social setting, even for a short interview that you need to prepare for and effectively win your potential employer’s trust and respect in a short span of time with him or her.
1. Always Be Truthful
Lying can be tough work and if you’re not good at it, it’s best not to try it when you meet someone for the first time. Seasoned interviewers might be experienced enough to spot a liar, especially one who’s not good at lying. Signs like taking longer to respond, blinking or touching of the nose can depict a lie and it easily breaks the trust between you and the other party. Hence, the best policy is to always be truthful.
2. Be Vulnerable
A new book called Friend and Foe, written by psychologists Maurice Schweitzer, Ph.D., and Adam Galinsky, Ph.D, revealed that showing our vulnerability proves to be an effective technique to gain trust in the shortest possible time. By dropping a pen or spilling coffee and then making a joke out of it makes us vulnerable and warm at the same time. However, an important point to remember is that competence has to be displayed first before you can demonstrate vulnerability, otherwise it wouldn’t work.
3. Hand Positioning
Dressing up for a first date or interview is very important. However, most overlook the importance of body language. Just the simple positioning of your hands during the first meet up can give away signs whether you are nervous or unconfident or whether you come across as a cunning person or a genuine one. Steepling your hands or putting your hands on the table with open palms can make you look more approachable.
4. Eye Contact And Blinking
Maintaining eye contact 80% of the time is the ideal amount when you talk to someone for the first time. This gives the impression that you’re actively listening. Not only that, blinking is also very important. According to Michael Argyle, a well known 20th century psychologist, 7-10 seconds of holding eye contact at a time shows that you are trustworthy, any lesser than that and it shows that you are not. Excessive blinking can also make us look very suspicious as we blink more when we become nervous.
5. Mirroring Movements
According to a research done, MBA students were instructed to mirror their partner’s movements, for example, if the partner puts their elbow on the table, they should do the same too. And the other half of the students were told not to. The results were striking. 67% of those who mirror movements struck a deal with their partner and only 12.5% reached a deal for those who didn’t mirror movements. Simply mirroring movements can help to build rapport with one another.