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How to Be a Gentleman: 12 Timeless Tips

How to Be a Gentleman: 12 Timeless Tips

So you want to be a gentleman but don’t know where to start. Being a gentleman isn’t a personality quirk. It’s not something you turn on and off like a switch. It’s a lifestyle. Although it’s a reputation that’s hit the endangered species list, like my Ghostbusters sweatshirt, I’m hopeful it will make a comeback.

Being a gentleman revolves around one word: respect. It’s respect for yourself, those you care about, and those you want to care about.

Here are 12 timeless tips on how to be a gentleman that will enhance your life, both personally and professionally:

1. Define Your Personal Style

When I hear “gentleman” I think suit, tie, polished shoes… and stuffy. Seriously, I just fell asleep thinking about it.

Luckily, the definition has evolved and isn’t attached to a certain look anymore – it’s all about attitude and how you carry yourself. Choose a personal style that reflects your personality and lifestyle. Don’t buy clothes you think you should, otherwise you may as well wear a sandwich board that says I have no idea who I am!

2. Keep Your Hygiene in Check

Put effort into your appearance. Keep yourself clean, showered, and groomed. Women do enjoy scruffy, but controlled scruffy – you don’t want your date asking where you hid your cardboard sign and paper cup.

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In other words: don’t smell. And perhaps reserve the gnarly Davy Jones beard for the NHL playoffs.

3. Be a Grown-up

It’s now commonplace for potential employers to check out your social media profiles. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a woman who won’t do the same before dating you. Even if the pictures are from years ago and you’ve since cleaned up your act, they’re not going to see “now” you. They’re going to see “then” you, a.k.a. K-Fed hat and beer bong.

While you’re at it, set up a grown-up e-mail address. The sounds-dirty-but-isn’t e-mail account you’ve had since high school is the farthest thing from gentlemanly. Ever.

4. Keep Language PG-13

As someone who’s an unintentional potty mouth, I was alarmed to find out how many people are offended by swearing. I now do my best to keep the f-bombs at a minimum.

It’s obviously a huge no-no in professional settings, but trust me, when you constantly swear in your personal life, it becomes increasingly difficult to reel in the habit at work.

Consider this a top priority if you want to be a gentleman. Not only will expanding your vocabulary make you a better communicator, you’ll impress others across the board with your intelligence and professionalism.

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5. Connect With People

Say hello as you’re walking past a stranger. Let someone go in front of you in the grocery line. Make eye contact. Be approachable. It’s one of the best ways to open yourself up to new people, experiences, and professional connections.

To be a gentleman while you’re out, always remember it’s all about them. Be a good listener. Ask questions. Take note of what’s important to them, and they’ll take note of you.

6. Find Your Purpose

Beyond a nice home and financial security, what do you want? What are you passionate about? What mark do you want to make? Define what you live for. Not only will you feel more fulfilled, it’ll lead to so much depth and substance your head will spin. Everything will feel that much brighter.

Don’t take my word for it: be a gentleman and find out for yourself.

7. Be Clear About What You Want

Not making a decision is a decision in itself, and it’s not a good one! If you want the respect of others, know what you want and what you don’t, and be clear about it. Knowing how to say no is one of the most well-respected things you can do for yourself.

You don’t want to be a wishy-washy person who constantly flakes on those you care about because you over-commit, and you certainly don’t want to be the guy with no opinion or backbone.

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8. Hold the Door Open

Holding the door open for people is a gentleman’s calling card. It’s one of the most subtle yet powerful ways to show your consideration for others.

Game. Set. Match.

9. Keep Your Promises

A big part of being a gentleman is respecting others’ time and meaning what you say. If you say you’re going to meet someone at a specific time, don’t be late. When you tell someone you’re going to help them with something, help them. When you promise you’ll have a project done by a certain date, meet your deadline.

Not only will this build trust with those you care about, it will also help build self-trust, a crucial-yet-underrated form of trust when you’re a gentleman.

10. Return the Favor

It’s all about the little things, both at work and at home. If a co-worker helped you setup a killer presentation, help them with their annual report. If your girlfriend picked up groceries, carry them in for her. Always make sure you’re helping enhance the lives of those you care about.

11. Pick Up After Yourself

Keeping a tidy office, home, and car will leave a good impression on anyone you meet. It shows you take yourself seriously, and take pride in what you’ve worked hard for.

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Fast forward ten years to when you’re living with your future wifey: if you build the habit now, you’ll be one of the few who aren’t nagged about leaving their socks on the floor! Win/win.

12. Be You

Nobody’s looking to hire or date a Ken doll. Our professional and personal lives are now fused together thanks to technology, so drop all that compartmentalizing and be authentic 24/7. Let your guard down and stop trying to look so glossy. Not to sound all hippy, but just be.

What’s ironic about the art of being yourself is what makes you unique is usually what makes you self-conscious. The flaws you find irritating are appealing and endearing to everyone else – they’re what set you apart and make you memorable. Would you rather be memorable or a cardboard cutout? That’s what I thought.

Being at ease with who you are is the sign of a true gentleman. Gentlemen don’t lie or mislead – they’re as comfortable with themselves as they want you to be. Being a gentleman never goes out of style – put these tips into practice and you’ll be well on your way to gentleman status.

What do you think it takes to be a gentleman? Let us know in the comments!

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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