You should care what they think

To put yourself inside the mind and behind the eyes and ears of your ‘audience’ or ‘prospect’ is the best move you could make to smooth the way for effective communication.

I know we are always told ‘don’t worry about what other people think — be yourself’ — or ‘take no notice of them’ — and yes, there will be plenty of situations where that could be excellent advice.

However — I am not talking about those situations.

I am talking about the moments when you need to have maximum influence on the person or people at the other end of the interaction and it really DOES matter what they think about you.

Moments such as:

It really does matter what they think about you

A presentation

A prospect first meeting

A networking event

An interview

In all of these situations you do need to care what they think about you.

The more you can ‘pretend’ to be the person who is looking at and listening to you — the closer you get to that sweet spot of connection.

In that sweet spot they like you, they trust you, they are listening and they care about you and what you have to say.

How you achieve this perspective shift most effectively:

You need to do a thought experiment and consider the questions that are in their mind in the first seconds of meeting you:

Are you like me?

Are you for real?

Why are you wearing that?

Why do you look miserable?

Why do you seem awkward?

Have you got a sense of humour?

Are you going to take the upper hand?

Are you one of those superior types?

Are you going to say anything worthwhile?

Research by Princeton University found that people made ‘thin-slicing’ judgements in 100 ms — kind of instant really!

People will make a first impression of you in the time interval between gear changes on a Ferrari FXX (trivia knowledge for you).

First impressions — 100 ms — the time between gear changes in a Ferrari FXX

Next Step

Ask yourself those questions.

With each question — consider what you might do consciously or unconsciously that effect their judgement. For the unconscious stuff you will have to dig deep — possibly get some honest input from a good friend.

Next Step

If there are things that you have no control over and might be giving a false impression in those milliseconds — i.e the shape of your face — then you need to say or do something instantly that starts to break down their judgement.


You have a stern ‘resting face’ — you know this — you have had honest input from a friend… so … you deliberately put a smile on your lips BEFORE you enter the ‘space’. You could also tweak other appearance related things — soften your look, relax your body language, slightly mess up your hair!

The more you carry out these perspective shifts and rational audits — the more equipped you are for making those important moments of communication achieve your desired outcome — which will most likely start with ‘being trusted’.

By the way — this instant judgement behaviour is what we do as well — and we don’t always get it right — good to remember.

Watch one of the brilliant School of Life Videos — ‘ You Shouldn’t Trust Your Feelings’

Care what they think — and they will care about what you have to say.

Rapport building is big topic — you might like to check this article on instant trust tactics out or this one on moving an audience.