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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.

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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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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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