Researchers Found This Simple Formula Was The Key To Likability

You can apply it to creating viral content and building your brand

Carlyn Beccia

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Researchers Found This Simple Formula Was The Key To Likability
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Six years ago, Hank Hill set the internet ablaze when he created his irreverent "Crazy/Hot Matrix." In his viral YouTube video, Hill sketched out a chart to identify which women men should avoid and which women they should pursue.

His theory was that a woman should stay in a crazy/hot sweet spot — attractive but not too crazy. Swing too far into the "crazy" zone, and it doesn't matter how hot she is. Swing too far into the unattractive zone, and it doesn't matter how much she has her act together. Or so he claimed.

Of course, women were not happy with him.

But despite its misguided heuristic, there's a hilarious truism in his matrix — your personality is a balancing act of good and bad traits.

Today, a content creator’s personality is their brand. And every brand has a sweet spot that seduces the public. In a study by Princeton University, researchers found that sweet spot, and it is surprisingly simple.

Competence + Warmth = Likability.

The researchers found that 82% of our likability is based on someone's warmth and charm. The remaining 18% is their competence.

Unfortunately, the researchers also found that people are perceived as less charismatic when they don't balance warmth and competence. Swing too far toward warmth, and others disrespect you. Swing too far toward cold competence, and others get envious. Embrace neither warmth nor competence, and you will only inspire contempt.

A classic example of a competent leader who lacked warmth is Hillary Clinton. With her background as Secretary of State, senator from New York, first lady of the United States, and proven track record of public service, Clinton was clearly qualified for the job. But many didn't vote for her because she lacked warmth. Some downright loathed her.

Hillary Clinton failed the likeability formula.

In Vanessa Van Edward's latest book, Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication, Van Edwards applies this competence/warmth formula to create a “charisma chart.”

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Carlyn Beccia

Author & illustrator. My latest books — 10 AT 10, MONSTROUS: THE LORE, GORE, & SCIENCE, and THEY LOST THEIR HEADS. Contact: CarlynBeccia.com