Why imperfection can be charming in the office - Executips


Monday, August 28, 2023

Why imperfection can be charming in the office

An imperfect presenter can win allies.

There were two brothers who pitched a movie to us. The first one was quite polished and professional in his presentation. He was impressive. The next presenter was the younger brother who was the filmmaker himself. He was a bit clumsy. He mispronounced some of the words but he could laugh at his own mistakes. He appealed more to us. Because we liked him, we wanted him to succeed.

Psychologist Wendy Patrick is one of the many experts who have seen studies showing why imperfection can be attractive. She wrote on the Psychology Today website: ”Beyond acceptance, people are actually drawn to others who are less than perfect. There is an element of relatability that we feel toward others who, like us, leave something to be desired in one or more categories.”

I believe we can feel more comfortable with “less-than-perfect” people because they are non-threatening. The greatest of human fears is the dread of being judged. People who appear “perfect” can be intimidating when we suspect that they are scanning us from head to toe.

Actforlibraries.org said that people back away from those who appear "meticulous" because they are perceived to be "high maintenance." In contrast,  “people with noticeable flaws” are “more approachable for conversation.” They can be “endearing.”

I also think that, like me, you would feel good about a famous person being humanized by a weakness or flaw they are not shy to admit. It’s called the Pratfall Effect as described by the American Psychological Association.  A 1966 study revealed that a “clumsy blunder” by a “superior” person can even increase their attractiveness. It makes them look more genuine.

I have seen many girls exclaim “Awww, that’s cute!” when a handsome superstar, for example, sings out of tune or admits to being scared of a mouse. 

Psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini observed that clumsy people make others want to engage with them.  The helper, in turn, gets a boost of self-confidence.

Even self-image coach Tonya Leigh admitted in her podcast that imperfect people can be “hot.” That’s because we want to be like them who are so relaxed and comfortable with who they are.

But there’s a caveat to the Pratfall Effect. You have to be good at something to be able to get away with some awkwardness. If you’re just “mediocre,” flaws can result in further minus points.

Steve Cohen is a magician who wrote a book on how to be great onstage. But in Win The Crowd, he suggested for magicians to sometimes feign difficulty in achieving an effect after having previously impressed the audience. In such a show of fake failure, the audience will root for you to succeed and redeem yourself.

Allen Swift, another magician, advised performers to choose “people who love you” when you need volunteers for the audience. “They will always want you to succeed,” he reassured. The “people who love you,” can be your bosses or your clients.

You may read:

Be You: 6 “Flaws” That Make You More Attractive by Mary Jo Rapini on Fox26houston.Com

Imperfection is Sexy by Tonya Leigh on Schoolofselfimage.Com

The Attractions of Imperfection by Wendy L. Patrick, J.D., Ph.D., on Psychologytoday.Com

The Effect of a Pratfall for Increasing Interpersonal Attractiveness on Psycnet.Apa.Org

Why Imperfection Is Attractive on ActforLibraries.Org

Win The Crowd by Steve Cohen


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