Martin Luther King Jr had a dream. So do you. Whether it’s for your personal or professional life, it’s important for others to respect you and take you seriously.
You might be starting out fresh in your industry, navigating your way through colleagues who have more experience than you or trying to build up your personal clout and credibility.
Here are some strategies which can get others to give you the respect you deserve in order to get things done.
1. Let others talk about themselves
It’s true that people, including yourself, love talking about themselves. Harvard researchers found that talking about yourself activates the same regions in the brain as sex, cocaine, and a fulfilling meal.
Additionally, a study has shown that people who disclose themselves more tend to like one another more.
So before you jump into the conversation, put your bragging rights on hold, and let others do the talking first. Once they are more or less satisfied and feeling comfortable talking about themselves to you, then it’s your chance to hold the microphone.
2. Win people over with the first introduction
First impressions count. When meeting others for the first time, make the initial contact matter – a firm handshake, proper eye contact and a genuine interest to know more about the other person.
This is crucial because in order for us to be taken seriously, we need to take others seriously first. And this is done by conferring respect and appreciation to the other party.
3. Adopt a confident posture
Our posture affects the way others see and perceive us. Research have found that adopting a confident posture – by having your shoulders open and arms kept wide – the classic power pose – activates your hormones in a manner that makes you look and feel more confident and competent.
Take working at your desk for example. If you are hunching on your chair in front of your computer, you won’t feel really confident or even interested in what you are currently doing. However, if you deliberately sit up straight with your shoulders open, you will start to take your work more seriously.
4. Be more prepared than you think you need to be
Nothing destroys confidence more readily than a lack of preparation.
Whenever we are communicating, we are essentially selling our ideas or pieces of information, and we are trying to get the other party to buy them. And a surefire way to ruin customer confidence is having a salesman who does not really know what he is talking about.
Thus, when you have a big meeting coming up where you are pitching your idea to the bigger players, prepare your material thoroughly and anticipate the kinds of questions and objections you would expect from them.
5. Stay in touch with what’s going on around you
Know what is going on in your industry and the field which you are in, so that you have good conversational topics and “ammunition” to expend when engaging in dialogue with others.
Be up to speed in changes in your industry by cultivating a proper diet of the information you consume. This might mean watching the television less and spending more time reading relevant blogs, articles, magazines, etc.
At the end of the day, you would want to be able to not only engage in conversation, but to offer your insights and opinions about trending matters. And people who can offer their opinions – the stronger, the better – tend to be taken more seriously.
6. Be humble and confident at the same time
It’s important for you to have the humility to acknowledge that you don’t know everything in the world – that you need to enlist the help of others – and at the same time, the confidence to say that you are sure of what you are doing and you have something worthwhile to say.
7. Don’t allow verbal tics to undermine your authority
An “upspeak” is when you say a sentence which actually sounds more like a question. This happens when the sentence is ended on a higher pitch than what it started with, and this can give others the impression that you are not sure of what you are saying.
A recent survey revealed that out of 700 male and female bosses:
- 85% of them believed that upspeak is a clear sign of insecurity and emotional weakness,
- 57% agreed that upspeak can damage one’s professional credibility, and
- 44% said they will mark down job applicants who upspeak by up to a third.
8. Practice what you preach – be action-biased
If you tell others what you are going to do, they might be interested. If you show them a plan on how you are going to do it, they might be curious or excited. And if you show them what you have done so far and the consequent results, they will see you in a more serious light.
Nothing boosts one’s credibility more than solid evidence of his undertaking.
If you have an idea for a new product, instead of just telling others of your brilliant plan, go create some mock-ups, assess the possible competition in that space, talk to potential users and customers and bring these findings to your boss. It’ll definitely be much better than saying that you’ve got an awesome idea up your sleeve.
What are other ways which you can get others to take you seriously?