It’s been forever since we’ve been hearing the cliche that first impression is the last impression. So, when it comes to meeting an important person for the first time, we’re nervous and try to make sure that we put a good first impression across. While it’s a person’s personality that makes him or her likable, there are definitely areas where one can work on, to make a better first impression.  

But what are the things that go in the mind of the other person, which make them like you? Looks like this Harvard study has the answer.

Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, has been researching on first impression for the last 15 years, with her colleagues Susan Fiske and Peter Glick. In her new book titled ‘Presence’, the psychologist explains the pattern of interaction between people and the two questions upon which people generally evaluate someone, when meeting them for the first time.

“Can I trust this person? And can I respect this person? These are the two questions that people can immediately answer after the first meeting.


Assigning these questions to ‘warmth’ and ‘competence’ respectively, Amy says that it’s more important for people to be able to trust someone, and thus warmth, as a trait, comes first before someone evaluates a person’s competence. She goes on to say that while people give more preference to competence in the professional world, actually, trustworthiness weighs more when someone is evaluating you. 

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

At the same time, she warns against focusing too hard on proving your smartness and intelligence, while failing to gain people’s trust. Taking example of MBA interns, she explains that in a bid to come across as smart and competent, they tend to skip social events, don’t ask for help, and generally come to be seen as unapproachable. In the end, such people end up coming across as manipulative.

Shedding light on her book Presence, which also talks about how to feel more confident, the author tweeted:


Well, now you know the secret to a good first impression!