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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, 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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