Look Like You Mean What You Say.


Looking and sounding like you mean what you say is called congruence.

Here’s a Freakonomics blog post about the advantages of looking trustworthy. They reference a, perhaps not unsurprising, piece of research which found that, “… people are more likely to invest money in someone whose face is generally perceived as trustworthy, even when they are given negative information about this person’s reputation.”

In researching my current book, I came across one so-called research finding that concluded that people with assymetrical faces made better leaders. The reasoning behind this was that beautiful people have it easy their whole lives so they don’t have to put in the effort with people to influence them, whereas not-so-beautiful people had to develop influencing skills their whole life because nature didn’t give them any natural advantages. This does seem to contradict books like ‘Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful.’

Both are interesting possibly but is either of any use to a leader in the workplace trying to be a Brain-Based Boss and get better results by applying this thinking in the real world of work?

I suggest that while it may be possible to change how symmetrical your face is in order to enjoy any supposed benefits, that’s a tad crazy. (Crazy isn’t like pregnant. No one’s ever a “tad pregnant.” You either are or you aren’t. With crazy however, there is an abundance of shades.)

My point, surreal as it was getting, is that the face-shape research might be amusing but it isn’t usefully applicable in the real world of work.

Looking trustworthy has more potential usefulness. I couldn’t tell with just a skim read of the article but I hope that whatever trustworthy looks like isn’t something you’re born with but is a set of behaviours you can learn and use. And by “use”, I don’t mean “fake and manipulate.” And I don’t just mean raised eyebrows and a smile. There must be a combination of micro body language movements that reflect a genuine trustworthiness.Straight posture, open gestures, eye contact and many more that a mere still image in a lab test cannot hope to portray.

If you are trustworthy, it’ll enhance your professional communication and leadership effectiveness if you can also look trustworthy. Here are some clues:

Trustworthy Faces

No disrespect to the follically challenged, and I get that these are simple computer generated images, but I think the +3SD guy would look even more trustworthy if he added some hair (though not not in beard or mustache form) and lost the black t-shirt…

About Terry Williams - The Brain-Based Boss

I'm all about engaging people and helping you engage yours to influence behaviour to improve results - at work and at home. Maybe you're a manager, a salesperson, a leader, a parent, a presenter or an event organiser? You need to grab your people's attention, create some rapport, be memorable and influence behaviour change. How can we do that? I'm originally a trainer by trade, turned manager, turned comedian and partway back again. Author of 'THE GUIDE: How to kiss, get a job & other stuff you need to know', I write and speak about how to engage people, be they employees, family or yourself. How can we connect with people’s own internal motivations and help them use their own inner passions to drive towards productivity, success and happiness? And hopefully have a few laughs along the way... As a trainer facilitating learning and development in others, I find myself drawing on my own extensive business experience. I specialise in the delivery of high impact, customised training solutions for organisations that are serious about improving the performance and lives of their people.

Posted on June 15, 2012, in Communication, Influence, Professional Communication, Rapport and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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