Look Competent … 4 psychological tricks!

CompetenceRachel Gilllett wrote an article for the Business Insider entitled, Instantly Look Competent … 4 psychological tricks! Displaying your competence isn’t just a matter of looking polished and dressing the part. Research has shown that focusing on how you interact with others will yield far better results. Displaying your competence is an essential way to get ahead at work and in your profession, writes Columbia University professor Heidi Grant Halvorson in her book “No One Understands You And What To Do About It.”

It can help you win the trust of bosses, colleagues, and employees alike, which is key to having valuable allies at work. Here are Halvorson’s four psychological strategies to conveying your effectiveness and you can read the original article here:

1. Demonstrate your strong willpower.
Would you trust a colleague that has a serious self-control problem with an important project? Probably not. A study out of VU University Amsterdam found that when you publicly engage in behaviors indicative of low willpower, your trustworthiness diminishes. While someone’s personal behaviors would ideally remain personal, they suggest to outsiders whether or not the individual is able to adhere to the standards of any healthy relationship, which could include the ones you have at work.

2. Beware of seeming cocky.
Whatever you do, don’t confuse confidence with competence. While you can never have too much competence, there is a healthy — and unhealthy— dose of confidence to be aware of. The dangers of overconfidence include being under-prepared, setting unrealistic goals, biting off more than you can chew, and generally making bad choices, Halvorson explains. And all this leads to being the least popular guy in the office.

3. Use body-language to your advantage.
Any easy way to appear more competent is by simply making eye contact while speaking. Studies have shown that those who do so are consistently judged as more intelligent. Halvorson also suggests speaking faster, gesturing and nodding, and sitting up straight, which have all been found to lead to greater perceptions of competence.

4. Emphasize what you can do, not what you have done.
We have an unconscious bias to be more impressed with the “next big thing” than the “big thing” that’s already happened. During a recent study by Harvard and Stanford researchers, participants evaluated two job candidates and determined their fit for a leadership position. Both candidates had equally impressive backgrounds, but one had two years of relevant job experience and high scores on a test of leadership achievement and the other had zero years of relevant job experience and high scores on a test of leadership potential.

Related Articles: Insight + Rapport  and   Six Ways to Rise Above Your Critics

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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