Harvard Business School social psychologist professor Amy Cuddy says people judge you based on 2 criteria when they first meet you:

* Can I trust this person?

* Can I respect this person?

Psychologists refer to these dimensions as trustworthiness and competence respectively, and ideally you want to be perceived as having both. Interestingly, most people, especially in a professional context, believe that competence is the more important factor. After all, they want to prove that they are smart and talented enough to handle your business. But in fact trustworthiness is the most important factor in how people evaluate you.

While competence is highly valued, it is evaluated only after trust is established. And focusing too much on displaying your strength can backfire.