People Judge You by These 2 Factors, Psychologist Says

The author of a new book warns that some overachievers inadvertently hurt their job prospects. Find out how.

People Judge You by These 2 Factors, Psychologist Says Photo (cc) by reynermedia

What do trustworthiness and respect have in common?

You want to be perceived as having both characteristics, according to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, because people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you:

  • Can I trust this person?
  • Can I respect this person?

This is among the findings of Cuddy’s research, Business Insider reports.

Cuddy, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, recently published a book that delves into those findings — “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” — which is currently the No. 1 bestseller in Amazon’s “Communication & Social Skills” section.

Psychologists refer to trustworthiness and respect as warmth and competence, respectively.

While most people believe that competence is more important, Cuddy says trustworthiness is the most important factor in how other people evaluate you, Business Insider reports.

She explains in the book:

From an evolutionary perspective, it is more crucial to our survival to know whether a person deserves our trust.

Cuddy warns that overachievers sometimes are so worried about appearing competent that they skip social events or refuse to ask for help. In doing so, they risk coming off as unapproachable and may be less likely to get job offers.

As Cuddy told Business Insider:

“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.”

According to the New York Times’ Sunday Book Review, Cuddy’s book stemmed from a TED Talks lecture she gave in 2012 about her research, which is the second-most popular TED Talks lecture ever.

To learn more about social psychology and communication skills, check out:

Do you agree with Cuddy on trustworthiness and respect, or do you think another characteristic is a more important factor in how other people evaluate you? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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