More often than not, engineers think that first impressions at the workplace are about the technical competencies. This is wrong, Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy says in her book “Presence.”
According to Cuddy, initial judgments of people have little to do with your skills, but more about if they can trust you. It is critical that you appear to be trustworthy as a first impression, so you would survive the job as an engineer.
After all, most of the technical skills can be learned at work, so engineers need to work on how be worthy of trust especially among the higher-ups. And yes, first impression lasts.
So how should engineers trick other people into thinking you are likable and trustworthy in the most genuine ways possible? Here are 9:
Listen a lot more than you talk. Other people appreciate it when they know that you are listening to every word you say. Do not interrupt if unnecessary. Make eye contact and smile.
Shift the spotlight to others. The key is to never brag about your own accomplishments, so you’d rather make other people, especially to the one you’re talking to, to get the praise. Tell people that they did a good job.
Do not selectively listen. You need to be open about listening to every people regardless of their position. He or she may be an engineer from another department or a subordinate; it pays to hear their say all the time.
Put your stuff away. It’s also about focusing on the other end. Do not be intimidated by your phone, your desktop or anything else that will disrupt the moment of conversation. Maintain a connection by giving full attention.
Give before you receive. You have to disregard the fact that you will get anything with this, because the odds are that you won’t be treated the same (unless they read this article!). Focus on what you can provide rather than you will receive.
Do not act so self-important. Arrogance has no place in the engineering workplace. It will only bring upon irritation and discomfort – a certain kind of bad air whenever you enter the room.
Be careful with what you say. Your choice of words also has an impact with others, too. Choose the ones that are most likely to be well-received or with the least misinterpretations.
Refrain from too much gossip. Small talk in the pantry or over the water dispenser is fine, as long as the discussion about other people isn’t too offensive. Never laugh at other people because the other end may think that you’re laughing at them too behind their backs.
Admit your mistakes. One of the best qualities that you need to show is that you’re humble enough to say that you’ve failed or screwed up some point in your life. And it’s okay, just laugh at yourself for it. You’ll gain trust that way.