When you meet someone new at the #SHRM18 conference, do you feel it is more important to come across as being competent or being charming, that is, do you exhibit your knowledge or your warmth? Most of us would like to exhibit both, but research shows that to the other person it is more important for you to exhibit warmth, according to Eric Barker, the author of the weekly blog Barking up the Wrong Tree, as well as the book by the same name.
Eric is a master of curating content and then interpreting that content for us. In his most recent newsletter, he talks about the importance of first impressions, such as the first time you meet someone at a conference. Barker says that research shows that it is hard to change the first impression we make with someone, so it is important to get it right. At a conference, we want people to be impressed with us on the basis of our knowledge and our warmth. Barker says that is a terrible idea. Research shows…” that 80% of our judgments about people come down to warmth and competence. And the more important quality is warmth. We’ll take a lovable moron over a competent jerk more often than not.” In other words, if you want to be memorable choose to show your warmth over showing your competence. Being seen as being an idiot should not be your biggest fear, it should be being seen as being cold.
To be interesting be Interested
Barker says research has also shown that people do not judge an interaction by how interesting you are, rather they judge an interaction by how well they are doing and feeling. They want to make sure they are not screwing up. I remember reading a story where the writer told of an interaction where he never told the other person about himself, but he asked questions of the other person. At the end of the conversation, the other person told him he was one of the most interesting people they had ever met. He said the lesson was that to be perceived as interesting, it was important to be interested in the other person.
Barker quoted some research that held the conclusion that small talk is important. “What should your goal be when making small talk? Ask questions to find points of similarity. Similarity is extraordinarily powerful when it comes to bonding and this is backed by more studies than you would ever want to read…Best part? The similarity doesn’t even have to be something deep or serious to have profound effects.”
Smiling is important
What is one of the best ways to be perceived as being warm? According to the FBI, it is smiling. Smiling is also high on Dale Carnegie’s list from How to Win Friends and Influence People. Smiling is the number one nonverbal technique you should utilize to look more accommodating, according to Carnegie. The living proof of the power of a smile is Steve Browne. He is considered warm, approachable, and competent. So put a little effort in and keep a smile on your face when talking to someone.
As I said in my previous post Networking news for #SHRM18 attendees you don’t have to try to meet a ton of people, but with those, you do meet you do want them to remember you. That is how you are going to build that network.