Warmth and Confidence Is All We Need to Succeed

Hollywood has got it seemingly all wrong according to Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy. It isn’t Michael Douglas’ character in Wall Street, or Alec Baldwin’s character in Glengarry Glen Ross we should be emulating in the business world, with their all hubris, take-no-prisoners attitude. It sounds like we should try to be more like Santa Claus, all warm and knowing, when we are networking or moving-and-shaking around town.

Cuddy makes the case in her new book Presence that warmth and confidence, respectfully, are the two key components that most people use to judge other people. This must fly in the face of the newly graduated MBA student that goes out of his/her way to impress you with how knowledgeable they are. Not to say knowledge isn’t an important part of confidence, but both take a backseat to warmth according to Cuddy’s research.

Cuddy is not unknown or new to the world of behavioral sciences. She’s done work with Rutgers, Kellogg, and Harvard universities, and has the distinction of being one of TED’s most popular talks of all time (see video below).

Personally speaking, it absolutely makes sense. From a sales perspective, you most certainly want to be knowledgeable about your product, service, and the industry itself. But you also want to come across as human, and most humans, whether they have trouble showing it or not, do respond to a bit of warmth in a world that can at times be somewhat cold outside, especially in huge urban centers.

Even if the business and finance world is not your playground, all can benefit from a little self-improvement now and again, so check out Amy’s hugely popular video on body language.

H/T: Business Insider