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This Is How You Can Get People To Take You Seriously

This Is How You Can Get People To Take You Seriously

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you needed to make a great first impression?

How about feeling like you wanted to be taken more seriously at work or within your personal relationships?

Maybe in the past you weren’t ready to be the ‘go-to’ guy or girl – someone who could be relied upon and basically had their stuff together – but now you want to be.

You’re in luck. I want to share with you some of the techniques I used to overcome my shyness, grow out of my laid-back phase, and improve my standing with others so that they knew I was now a force to be reckoned with! (You heard!) Here are six things you need to do to get other people to take you seriously:

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1. Dress for the part.

Think of your attire as your uniform for battle. Generals have stars and stripes to show they’re the boss, so you must show your ‘stripes’ as well.

Do you want to be taken seriously at work? Then dress better than your current job requires. How about on a date? Then dress like a man or woman who commands respect and adoration for their class and grace.

Do you want to be seen as the right person for the job during an interview? Frank Bernieri, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University, says dressing conservative is best. He extols that dressing traditionally conveys that you care, made an effort to not offend, and that you are respectful.

As for your first impression, he says that within the first 10 seconds of meeting your interviewer he or she has already decided if you will be getting the job or not.

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2. When you are in the company of others, do more listening than talking.

With this tactic you will learn about the other person, be perceived as a good listener, and you will be primed to contribute wisely when you do speak.

3. When you speak, talk about things you know really well.

Disperse intelligent ideas and informed opinions about subject matter that you are fully versed on so that people will view you as an authority.

Be knowledgeable about what you do for a living, your passions, and hobbies. You don’t need to be informed on everything – just stick with the stuff that is important to you and that will be enough. People admire people who have genuine interests.

4. Mind your body language whether you’re in an interview or speaking to a group of people.

If you want to be seen as an effective, commanding, and likable person, pay attention to the signals you are sending with your body movements.

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Body language is the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which a person communicates to others. Good body language can convey authority, confidence, and create rapport.

For example, when speaking, turn and face the person you are speaking with. This suggests engagement, interest, and that you have nothing to hide. Use your hands to emphasize your dialogue, but don’t lift them above your shoulders as this will appear strange. Also, maintain eye contact as this shows confidence and sincerity.

When you’re shy, making eye contact can be a little intimidating. Try this technique I learned from Tim Ferris from his book, “The 4-Hour Work Week.” Each day, where appropriate, and when you’re feeling particularly ballsy, pick a random person to make eye contact with.

Focus in on their eyes and once they connect with you, hold the gaze, and then look away. This exercise may also have unintended outcomes like being asked out on a date, but then you can also practice saying, “No, thank you,” which is a good thing to be able to do well anyway.

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Of course, you can just start looking at people in their eyes when you are talking to them. If you’re really nervous, start with your relatives. They shouldn’t be too alarmed by your sudden and intent gazing.

5. Follow through on what you say.

The most effective way to be taken seriously is to be seen as a person who follows through on what they say. If you declare you’re going to do something, do it! Forget giving reasons for why you failed. If you want to be the ‘go-to’ guy or girl, don’t come up short.

Be seen as the talented, tenacious, and indispensable person you now want to be by making sure you show up ready. Be on time to those important appointments, deliver the project on its due date, and be prepared to present like you’re giving your TEDx Talk.

6. Demonstrate conviction.

Finally, the best way to be known as a person who means business is to be seen as someone with ultimate conviction in their beliefs. Whatever it is you want to share, sell, or tell people, it has to be something that you believe in and love. The more you believe in and love it, the more people will be moved by it.

With most folks being bored by gimmicks, disappointed with mediocrity, and just plain tired of false promises, to be taken seriously nowadays you have to be on your game.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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