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:
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.
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.
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.
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.