Building trust is a life skill that can help you excel in a multitude of social situations, from a work presentation to a first date. It allows you to create rapport with those around you and encourage others to open up and treat you with familiarity. If you weren't born with a magnetic personality that exudes trustworthiness, psychiatrists Maurice Schweitzer and Adam Galinsky believe there is a proven hack to help you gain trust. What's more, it's surprisingly simple and can be done in almost any situation, from entering a conference room to approaching someone at a bar.
The answer, they believe, is striking a balance between warmth and competence, Business Insider reports. It's based on a 1966 study that found minor yet endearing mistakes could make you seem more likable. Something as simple as dropping a pencil, telling a poor joke, or spilling coffee was found to make people seem vulnerable, likable, and trustworthy.
"The effectiveness of this strategy debunks the common assumption that trust is something that can only be built slowly over time," the duo explain in their book, Friend and Foe. "By making yourself vulnerable, it is possible to build trust in less time than it takes to mop up a spilled latte."
Before you stumble into your date and make a clumsy move, the authors note that you need to build credibility first. This could mean revealing a bit more about your profession and background before you meet in person— otherwise, the formula won't work.
The take-home: Don't be afraid to show your relatable goofy side. Acting like a know-it-all or trying too hard to impress others puts up a barrier in any social situation. And if you happen to tip over a glass of wine by accident, don't be embarrassed. It could be the smartest move you'll make all night.