People size you up in seconds, but what exactly are they evaluating?
A Harvard Business School professor (Amy Cuddy) studied first impressions and found patterns in these interactions. In her book, Presence, Cuddy says 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.
… Cuddy says 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 the job offer because nobody got to know and trust them as people.