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21 Ways You Can Earn The Respect Of Others

21 Ways You Can Earn The Respect Of Others

You want to be respected, but you’re not sure how this whole thing works. The key here is to stop focusing on you, and start thinking about others. How can you help others? How can you inspire change, growth, and innovation? When you think about the people you respect deeply, what do they do differently from the average person? While you’re thinking about that, here are some of my own tips:

1. Be relentlessly proactive.

Don’t always wait for direction from others. Use your own skills and resources to start getting things done and solve problems. Get in the habit of figuring things out for yourself. Don’t be afraid of a challenge once in a while.

2. Keep your promises.

This is by far one of the most important actions you can take to start gaining respect. If you took commitments lightly in the past, don’t do that anymore. Always honor commitments and promises. If you find yourself having a lot of trouble with that, it means you make too many promises you can’t keep.

3. Stop apologizing.

People who are constantly saying, “I’m sorry,” without giving it a second thought are usually not the ones that are well respected. There is a time and place for apologies. Sometimes you make mistakes that affect family and friends. You can apologize to them. Meanwhile, stop using the word “sorry” a hundred times an hour for every little thing that goes wrong, especially in the workplace.

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4. Don’t waste other people’s time.

If you respect others’ time, they will respect yours. This includes not being late for appointments, not spending meetings talking about useless items, getting to the point fast, bringing up issues right away, being succinct, and of course, making it easier for others to make decisions, especially when they are busier than you.

5. Stop gossiping immediately.

Always act as if the person you’re talking about is right there with you. You need to respect others—even if you don’t like them. Everyone has desirable and undesirable traits. Realize this and talk from this fundamental belief. If you talk behind people’s backs, you and your reputation will quickly become irrelevant.

6. Stop being too nice.

Distinguish kindness from always having to do things for people. Trying to make everyone happy won’t get you very far. Being a pushover is highly undesirable if your goal is to be respected. If you’re too nice to everyone all the time, some people might even think you’re not genuine.

7. Practice humility.

You’re not always going to be right, and you’re not the best at everything. Every person you meet can teach you something. Confidence doesn’t come from a place where you’re the best. True confidence comes from understanding humility, and that every person has something unique to offer to the world, including you.

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8. Have a moral code.

Many overlook this important little piece of advice. What do you believe in? What’s important to you? What makes you mad and want to change the world? These kinds of questions will get you to the core of your own personal moral code. Figure it out and share it with the world in small amounts. All the great leaders of the world had a clear moral code.

9. Be open-minded.

At the other extreme of having a moral code is to remain open-minded. Being open-minded is not complicated, nor is it in conflict with having a moral code. It simply means that you acknowledge that you still have so much to learn, and you continue learning from others, even if you have a strong core belief system.

10. Add real value.

Whether you’re part of a community, a company, a group of friends or a team, you will be respected if you always think of ways to offer value to others. Value can come in many forms, but in the end it’s all about offering something to the world or to your community that can help by solving a problem for them. If you create something of value, people will respect you.

11. Always do your homework.

This means do the due diligence. When you’re interviewing someone, do the background research and find out everything you need to know to make an effective interview. When you’re going to a job interview, make sure you’ve done your homework about the company and know what their needs are. When you’re talking to friends, listen and retain information from the conversations and remember things that they care about for next time.

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12. Be inspiring.

You can be inspiring by talking to others about your passions and goals without holding back. You can be inspiring by endlessly encouraging others to follow their dreams, goals, and visions, and showing that you have faith in them.

13. Learn to say, “No.”

Don’t feel guilty about saying no once in a while. Don’t worry about missed opportunities either. You don’t need to agree to everything that someone asks from you, especially if it is a superior or a client. Sometimes, you are more respected by saying no, rather than agreeing to do a thing. When you say no, you show you’re not afraid of admitting that you value your time, and that you don’t have time for everything.

14. Don’t believe the self-talk.

If you want others to respect you, of course it’s obvious that you need to respect yourself. It’s not always easy, as we all have our bad days. On those days, you will experience negative self-talk. Don’t believe it. Remember your strengths and learn from your mistakes. Confidence comes from knowing that failure and imperfection are the paths to greatness.

15. Believe in your ideas.

Don’t discard your ideas, even if they seem funny, weird, or unorthodox. Embrace your creativity and follow through with your ideas. If you follow through you will achieve something great—and others will wonder how you came up with such a unique idea. The thing is, most people have these unique ideas, but most people are afraid to follow up and implement them, because they seem too far-fetched.

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16. Speak up when you’re mistreated.

Don’t just take it when someone is mistreating you, or taking advantage of you. Be professional and diplomatic, but don’t be silent. Speaking up for yourself is not always easy to do, which is why it is the mark of a person deserving respect.

17. Stand up for someone else.

When you see injustice around you, do you ignore it in order to avoid confrontation? Sometimes you have no choice, but there are moments when you need to stand up for others, especially when they cannot stand up for themselves. You don’t need to please everyone. Don’t be afraid of confrontation once in a while, as long as you do it in a diplomatic way.

18. Speak your mind.

When it is necessary, make sure you speak your mind. People who are highly respected have strong opinions on many topics, and lots of ideas about how to improve things. Don’t be afraid to mention these ideas once in a while, especially during a meeting, brainstorming session, or casual gathering.

19. Stop talking.

Sometimes you need to stop talking and listen. People who talk endlessly without pause are not usually respected (with very few exceptions). Listen to others. Stop talking about yourself all the time. Genuinely listen to people—really listen and try to understand them. Use silence to your advantage. Not every pause should be filled up with noise. Taking a moment to consider a thing before you open your mouth is almost always going to command respect.

20. Care about others.

Start caring about others. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people in your life, whether it is at work, home or church. Genuinely caring about others and showing concern during times of need shows empathy—a powerful trait of good leadership. It also shows that you don’t only focus on yourself, and that you have the emotional capability to pay attention and give help when needed. Not everyone can do this, which is why it is so powerful.

21. Control your emotions.

Make sure to curb your instant reactions to things that make you highly emotional—whether it is good or bad. Sure, it’s OK to be yourself and show enthusiasm. But remember that good leaders and well-respected people know the difference between responding and reacting. The latter is not a good habit.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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